The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, adding to signs of a strengthening labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 294,000 for the week ended Jan. 3, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 290,000 last week. The prior week's data was unrevised.
Claims have been bouncing around in a tight range, which is typical around the Christmas holiday period. Through the volatility, however, the trend in claims has remained consistent with a steadily tightening labor market.