Jobless claims fall, give clearer sign of health
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, giving a clearer sign that the labor market is healing after wild fluctuations in claims data at the beginning of the month.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 369,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
The prior week’s figure was revised slightly higher to show 4,000 more applications than previously reported.
A Labor Department analyst said all states submitted data for the report and that there was nothing unusual in the raw data. The analyst said the data showed no signs of the factors that had appeared to generate sharp swings in the claims reading over the prior two weeks.
The four-week moving average for jobless claims, which smoothes out such volatility, rose 1,500 to a 368,000. Economists generally think a reading below 400,000 points to an increase in employment, with hiring likely to outpace layoffs.