The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose for a third straight week last week, but that likely does not suggest a material shift in labor market conditions as data for several states, including California, were estimated.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 250,000 for the week ended Dec. 30, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 240,000 in the latest week. Claims tend to be volatile around holidays.

Last week marked the 148th straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with a strong labor market. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller.

Read more in Reuters.