Jobless Claims Fall, But Employment Outlook Still Dim

The number of U.S. workers filing initial claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly fell by 9,000 last week to its lowest level in a month, the government said Thursday, but remained at elevated levels to underscore a sluggish jobs market.


First-time claims for state unemployment insurance benefits fell to a seasonally adjusted 365,000 in the week ended May 17 from a revised 374,000 for the prior week, the Labor Department said. The weekly claims filings were the lowest since April 19.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected new claims to edge up to 375,000 from the originally reported 371,000 for the week ended May 10.

The four-week average of new jobless claims, a more reliable guide to underlying labor trends because it irons out weekly volatility, rose to 372,250 in the week ended May 17 from 367,250 in the previous week.