The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week from a seven-month high, pointing to continued improvement in labor market conditions.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 307,000 for the week ended Jan. 17, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
That reversed the bulk of the prior week's increase which had pushed claims to their highest level since early June. The rise was dismissed by economists as "noise" given that claims data is difficult to adjust for seasonal variations around the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 300,000 last week. The prior week's data was revised to show 1,000 more claims received than previously reported.