Fewer Americans than expected filed first time claims for jobless benefits last week.
The Labor Department announced on Thursday that the number of initial claims for the week ending on April 27, dropped to 324,000, down 18,000 from the prior week. That surprised economists, who had forecast 345,000 new jobless benefit claims. It also marked the lowest level of new unemployment claims since January 2008, Bloomberg noted.
One analyst noted that the number showed that companies were keeping their existing employees, but seemed unwilling to add significantly to their workforces, likely due to continuing economy uncertainty.
The government also revised upward the previous week’s jobless claims from 339,000, to 342,000.
Last month, private employers hired just 158,000 new workers, according to ADP and Moody’s Analytics, falling far below the 200,000 new hires that economists had anticipated.