Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The number of Americans who applied for jobless claims dropped below the 300,000 level for the fourth time in the last six weeks, a sign of strengthening outlook for the U.S. labor market.
In the week ended Aug. 23, claims fell by 1,000 to 298,000 from the previous period’s 299,000, according to a Labor Department report released Thursday in Washington. The figure compares with the median forecast for an increase to 300,000, according to a Bloomberg News poll of 46 economists.
The four-week average of new claims dropped by 1,250 to 299,750. The monthly figure is less volatile compared with the weekly figure and provides a better picture of underlying trends in the job market.
In the week ended Aug. 16, the number of people who continue to receive unemployment benefits rose by 25,000 to 2.53 million. Meanwhile, initial claims from two weeks ago were upwardly revised to 299,000, which was initially reported at 298,000.