WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – The rate of layoffs as measured by U.S. jobless claims fell to the lowest level since 1969, reflecting the strongest labor market since the end of the dotcom boom nearly two decades ago. Initial U.S. jobless claims fell by 10,000 to 210,000 in the seven days ended Feb. 24. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast claims to total 226,000. New claims haven’t been this low since December 1969. The more stable monthly average of claims declined by 5,000 to 220,500, the government said Thursday. That’s also the lowest level since 1969. The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits, known as continuing claims, increased by 57,000 to 1.93 million.