Initial jobless claims fell 4,000 to 218,000 in the latest reporting week, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.

The claims for state unemployment benefits hit a five-week low in the week ended June 9.

Continuing claims dropped to 1.7 million in the week ended June 2, the lowest level since December 1973.

Economists surveyed by IFR Markets had expected claims to remain steady at 222,000 in the latest week.

The four-week moving average for initial claims, which tends to be a better measure of the underlying trend of the data, fell by 1,250 to 224,250 in the week ended June 9.

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