The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits fell to the lowest level in a month for the week ended Dec. 28 as holiday related fluctuations declined, the Labor Department reported.
Claims fell 2,000 to 339,000, lower than the 344,000 average estimate from economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
“Barring a shock, layoffs are going to remain relatively low in 2014,” Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc., told Bloomberg.
“Businesses have the wherewithal to hire and invest — they just lack the willingness. As they start to see the economy strengthen, they’ll hire more aggressively,” Sweet said.
Claims usually fluctuate around the holidays, which makes it hard to judge the true effect on the economy, according to Bloomberg.
The number of people receiving continuing jobless benefits declined by 98,000 to 2.83 million in the week ended Dec. 21, the Labor Department said in its Jan. 2 report.