The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment rose marginally last week, but the underlying trend suggested the labor market continued to steadily improve.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits ticked up 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 1,000 fewer applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications for jobless benefits to hold steady at 326,000 in the week ended Jan. 18.
The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions, fell 3,750 to 331,500.
Last week's claims report covered the survey period for January's non-farm payrolls data. The four-week average for new claims fell 12,250 between the December and January survey periods, suggesting some acceleration in job growth this month.