The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits held near a six-week low, the Labor Department reported Jan. 23.
Claims rose 1,000 to 326,000 for the week ended Jan. 18, lower than the 330,000 average estimate from economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
“It’s reassuring,” William Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services Inc., told Bloomberg News. “After the December jobs report, everybody was pretty nervous. This is a number that makes it more likely December was a fluke.”
The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, dropped to 331,500 from 335,250 the previous week.
The number of people receiving continuing jobless benefits increased by 34,000 to 3.06 million in the week ended Jan. 11, the Labor Department said in its report.