US weekly jobless claims total 255,000 vs 285,000 est, lowest level since 1973

Some firms keep production lines running, which throws off a model the government uses to smooth the data for seasonal variations. A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing the data and that only claims for Puerto Rico had been estimated.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell only 4,000 to 278,500 last week. The claims data covered the period during which the government surveyed employers for the nonfarm payrolls portion of July’s employment report.