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The Department of Labor reported today that initial jobless claims fell by 10,000 for the week ending April 2, bringing the four-week moving average down by 5,750 to 389,500 (see chart). For the first time since July 2008, the four-week average for jobless claims has remained below the benchmark 400,000 level for six consecutive weeks, and provides additional evidence that conditions in the labor market are gradually improving.
According to Reuters:
"New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly more than expected last week, according to a government report on Thursday that pointed to firming labor market conditions. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 382,000, the Labor Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 385,000. The four-week moving average of unemployment claims -- a better measure of underlying trends - fell 5,750 to 389,500."