The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week fell slightly more than expected, pointing to an economy that was continuing to gain steam.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 330,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. However, claims for the prior week were revised to show 6,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to fall to 335,000 last week.
The four-week moving average for new claims fell 9,750 to 349,000.
While claims have been extremely volatile around the holiday season, they are still largely consistent with other labor market indicators that have painted an upbeat picture of the jobs market and the overall economy.
Last week's data has no bearing on the government's closely watched employment report for December, which is due to be published on Friday.