On Thursday, the Labor Department announced that the number of people filing first-time jobless claims fell to the lowest level since November.
The government said that new jobless claims tumbled by 26,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 323,000 during the week ended Mar. 1. That surprised economists, who had expected new jobless claims of 338,000 last week, Reuters notes.
First-time jobless claims for the prior week were revised upward by 1,000. The new data sent a four-week moving average of jobless claims down 2,000 to 336,500.
The Labor Department will release its jobs report for February on Friday. Economists predict that the economy generated 150,000 new non-farm jobs last month.