The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid edged higher last week but remained near a pre-recession low, the Labor Department said Thursday.
In the week ending May 31, the advance figure of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 8,000 to 312, 000, largely in line with economists' expectation of 310,000, the data showed.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of the underlying trend of labor market conditions, decreased by 2,250 to 310,250, the lowest level since June 2007, the figures showed.
The advance figure of seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 24 stood at 2.6 million, the lowest since October 2007.
The Labor Department will release its jobs report for May Friday. In April, the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs, the highest in more than two years, and that the unemployment rate plunged to 6.3 percent from 6.7 percent, indicating that the job market was improving.