The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid increased last week but still kept at a pre-recession low level as the job market is improving from the cold winter.
In the week ending April 12, the advance figure of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits ticked up 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000, near the lowest level in almost seven years, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. The data is better than the average market expectation of 315,000.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average, which helps smooth out week-to-week volatility, decreased by 4,750 to 312, 000 last week, the lowest level since Oct. 6, 2007. The advance figure of seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 5 also fell to the lowest level since Dec. 15, 2007, standing at 2.739 million, down 11,000 from the previous week.
Initial claims for jobless benefits reflect the latest firings in a week. A decrease or keeping at a low level is a signal of a rising job market. Economists believe the U.S. job market will keep improving as the weather warms.
In March, the U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls while unemployment rate stayed at 6.7 percent, the lowest level since October 2008, said the Labor Department earlier in the month.