Initial jobless claims in the U.S. declined last week to the lowest level in two months, highlighting a resilient labor market. Applications for unemployment benefits decreased by 11,000 to 264,000 in the week ended Sept. 12, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington. The survey period included the Labor Day holiday. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected claims would hold at 275,000. Employers are holding back on dismissals as the economy forges ahead against the headwinds of slowing global markets. Greater opportunities in the labor market will help give consumers the incomes and job security needed to maintain spending levels, which Federal Reserve officials are monitoring as they consider their first interest-rate increase in almost a decade. The decline “is more good news for the American consumer because it shows their confidence in labor market improvement is well-placed,” said Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit. Price is the second-best forecaster of claims over the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “Despite all the noise in the economy today, we are continuing to make good progress on the employment front.” Claims last week were the lowest since the period ended July 18. Estimates from 47 economists in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 265,000 to 290,000.
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