Jobless claims fall more than expected
Now hiring sign (AFP Photo/Spencer Platt)

New claims for US unemployment benefits fell last week, the government said Thursday in a report adding further evidence of a tightening labor market.

Initial jobless claims dropped by 12,000 to 267,000 in the week ending June 13, the Labor Department said. The prior week's level was unrevised.

The reading was better than analysts expected, with an average estimate pegged at 276,000.

The four-week moving average totaled 276,750, a decline of 2,000 from the previous week. A year ago, the average stood at 312,750.

The Labor Department said there were no special factors impacting the latest data for initial claims, which indicate the pace of layoffs.

Claims have been trending lower as US businesses accelerate hiring. The economy added 280,000 jobs in May, far more than expected and well above the past year's pace of 251,000 a month.

The unemployment rate ticked up a bit to 5.5 percent last month on a surge in job seekers amid the improving labor market.