The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid fell last week, suggesting the job market keeps improving.
In the week ending Aug. 22, the advance figure of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits decreased to 271,000, down 6,000 from the revised level of the previous week, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.
There were no special factors impacting last week's initial claims, said the department.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average, which helps smooth out the week-to-week volatility, edged up by 1,000 to 272,500 last week. The advance figure of seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Aug. 15 increased 13,000 from the previous week to 2,269,000.
The U.S. economy added 215,000 jobs in July, while the unemployment rate was 5.3 percent. The Labor Department will release August job data on Sept. 4. That's an important gauge that the Federal Reserve policy makers will refer to before they decide whether to start interest hike in September or not.