The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, indicating the labor market was strengthening despite a run-up in applications in prior weeks.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 319,000 for the week ended May 3, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The decline snapped three straight weeks of increases.
Claims for the week ended April 26 were revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits falling to 325,000 last week.