The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid last week fell to the pre-recession level, echoing an improving job market after a tough winter.
In the week ending May 24, the advance figure of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits decreased to 300,000, 27,000 less than the revised level of the previous week, according to the data of the U.S. Labor Department released Thursday. The number is better than the average market expectation of around 318, 000.
The four-week moving average, which helps smooth out week-to- week volatility, also edged down by 11,250 to 311,500 last week, the lowest level since Aug. 11, 2007. The advance figure of seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 17 fell 17,000 from the previous week to 2.631 million, the lowest level since Nov. 17, 2007.
In the eyes of economists, initial claims for jobless benefits reflect the latest firings in a week. A decrease or keeping at a low level is a good signal for job market.
The Labor Department said earlier this month that the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in April, the highest in more than two years, and the unemployment rate plunged to 6.3 percent from 6.7 percent, indicating that the job market was on a better footing.