First-time claims for unemployment benefits fell 18,000 to 324,000 in the latest week, a five-year low.Initial claims:
US trade deficit sank 11% in March to less than $40 billion.
Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, decreased by 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 324,000 in the week ended April 27, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the lowest level for claims since January 2008, just after the last recession started.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast 345,000 new applications for jobless benefits last week. The prior week's new jobless claims were revised up slightly.
A Labor Department analyst said the influence of spring break vacations and the Easter holiday, which caused the numbers to be volatile in recent weeks, have mostly subsided.The number of continuing unemployment benefit claims—those drawn by workers for more than a week—increased by 12,000 to 3,019,00.
The four-week average of claims, which smoothes weekly volatility in the figures, fell by 16,000 to 342,250. That was the sharpest drop in the four-week average since December.
Hopefully these numbers hold up next week, without revisions.