The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits fell to the lowest level in more than a month for the week ended Jan. 11, the Labor Department reported.
Claims fell 2,000 to 326,000, the lowest since the end of November and lower than the 328,000 average estimate from economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
“A lot of the improvement in the labor market has come from firms holding on to workers,” Omair Sharif, an economist at RBS Securities Inc., told Bloomberg. “What we’re waiting on is the improvement on the hiring side.”
The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, dropped to 335,000 from 348,500 the previous week.
The number of people receiving continuing jobless benefits increased by 174,000 to 3.03 million in the week ended Jan. 4, the Labor Department said in its Jan. 16 report.