Following a dramatic and unexpected increase, initial claims for U.S. unemployment insurance dropped significantly last week.
For the week ending April 2, the seasonally adjusted figure for jobless claims was 334,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 353,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported on April 7. Economists generally had expected a steeper drop, to about 320,000 claims.
The department's four-week moving average of initial claims, often regarded as a better indicator of underlying labor market conditions because it smooths out week-to-week changes, fell less dramatically last week. The moving average was 336,500, some 250 claims fewer than the previous week's revised average of 336,750.