The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in nearly a month,a hopeful sign for the labour market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits decreased 42,000 to a seasonally adjusted 338,000,the US Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to fall to 345,000 last week.
New jobless claims have trended higher since September,although economists say their level is still consistent with job growth. Other labour market indicators have pointed to strengthening job growth. The four-week moving average for new claims,which irons out week-to-week volatility,increased 4,250 to 348,000.