Fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, a welcome sign after claims had previously risen four weeks in a row.
About 365,000 people filed for their first week of jobless benefits, a significant drop from 392,000 claims filed the week before, the Labor Department said.
Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had expected 375,000 initial claims.
Jobless claims are considered a key measure of the job market, strongly correlated with the number of layoffs in the economy. While last week’s drop was seen as an encouraging sign, it’s also too soon to tell whether claims are returning to a downward trend.