With the more closely watched monthly jobs report looming, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing a decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended January 30th.
The report said initial jobless claims fell to 779,000, a decrease of 33,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 812,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 830,000 from the 847,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Jobless claims dropped for the third straight week, falling to their lowest level since hitting 716,000 in the week ended November 28th.
The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also edged down to 848,250, a decrease of 1,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 849,500.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also slid by 193,000 to 4.592 million in the week ended January 23rd.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims dropped to 4,881,750, a decrease of 120,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 5,001,750.
On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched report on the employment situation in the month of January.
Economists currently expect employment to rise by 50,000 jobs in January after slumping by 140,000 jobs in December. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 6.7 percent.