Initial jobless claims fell again last week, to the lowest level in seven months.
The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended Nov. 12 decreased by 5,000 to 388,000 from 393,000 the previous week, which was revised upward 3,000.
Most economists believe weekly jobless claims lower than 400,000 indicate the economy is expanding and jobs growth is strengthening. Initial claims have now been lower than this threshold for a month.
The four-week moving average, which is considered a less volatile indicator than weekly claims, declined by 4,000 claims to 396,750 from the prior week’s slightly revised 400,750.
The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate for the week ended Nov. 5 remained unchanged at 2.9%, according to the Labor Department.
The total number of people receiving some sort of federal unemployment benefits for the week ended Oct. 29 fell to 6.77 million from nearly 6.84 million the prior week.