The number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance benefits dipped last week as the labor market showed further signs of health, according to US data released Thursday.
Initial jobless claims for the week ending December 24 came in at 267,000, down 5,000 from the prior week and 4,000 fewer than analysts projected.
The Labor Department said there were no special factors behind the results. The data are an indicator for the pace of layoffs.
The four-week average, which smooths out volatile weekly movements, rose by 1,750 to 272,500.
New claims have been trending below 300,000 since early March amid moderate US economic growth and solid job creation, pushing the unemployment rate to 5.0 percent in November, a seven-year low.
The Federal Reserve has projected that unemployment will drop to 4.7 percent in 2016.