Washington- The number of people filing initial applications for US state unemployment benefits fell 13,000 to 221,000 last week, moving closer to historic lows, the US Labor Department reported Thursday.
The labor market is viewed as being close to or at full employment. The unemployment rate is at a more than 17-year low of 3.9 percent, close to the Federal Reserve (Fed) forecast of 3.8 percent by the end of the year.
Labor-market strength is likely to be underscored by May’s employment report, to be released Friday. Economists expect payrolls increased by 188,000 jobs after rising by 164,000 in April.