New claims for US unemployment benefits fell last week, the government reported Friday, resuming a downward trend that pointed to growing strength in the jobs market.
Initial jobless claims fell to 372,000 in the week ending December 31, down 15,000 from the prior week, the Labor Department said.
It upwardly revised the previous week's figure to 387,000.
The four-week moving average, which helps smooth out volatility, fell to 373,250, a decrease of 3,250 from the prior week.
The jobless data followed a better-than-expected reading on December job growth in the private sector from payrolls firm ADP, ahead of Friday's official labor report for the month.
While overall jobs growth is widely expected, the average forecast is for the jobless rate to tick higher to 8.7 percent from 8.6 percent in November.