The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, but it still suggested that labor market is still strong.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits increased by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 229,000 in the week ended March. 17, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Data for the prior week was unrevised.
Economists polled by Reuters had estimated initial claims decreasing to 225,000 in the latest week.
The Jobless claims have been below 300,000 for 159 straight weeks, the longest streak since 1970. At that time, the data base was much smaller than today.
The unemployment rate was at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, suggesting the labor market is near or at full employment.
The four-week moving average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure of labor market trends, rose by 2,250 to 223,750 last week.
The Fed announced to raised interest rates on at a target of 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent. The market is expecting three hikes for 2018. The Fed had already raised rate for six times since December 2015.
Economists expects that the strong labor market conditions will help boosted wage growth this year, which will also help support consumer spending.