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Economic Report: Jobless claims sink below 200,000 for first time since 1969

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Jobless claims, or layoffs, fell below 200,000 in early April for the first time since 1969 owing to an ultra-strong labor market.

The numbers: The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits in early April fell below 200,000 for the first time since 1969, the latest sign that an ebullient labor market remains an island of strength for a slower-growing U.S. economy.

Jobless claims, a rough measure of layoffs, fell by 8,000 to 196,000 in the seven days ended April 6, the government said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 210,000 reading.

The decline in jobless claims follows closely on the heels of government report showing a rebound in job creation in March after a near-hiring freeze in February.

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