The number of people who filed for unemployment benefits dropped to 390,000 in the week ending Nov. 5, down 10,000 from the week before, which is at its lowest since April.
Unadjusted figures showed that 3.2 million Americans were claiming state unemployment insurance, a decrease of around 600,000 compared to this time last year.
The government data released Thursday came after a steady job growth in October. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy added 80,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 9% from the previous month's 9.1%.
It has to be be noted that the weekly claims data happen to be volatile, making the four-week moving average, which is also provided by the Labor Department, to become a more reliable indicator of underlying trends in unemployment claims. The four-week average continued its downward trend last week, hitting 400,000, a key threshold in new jobless claims as it could be a defining moment in the job market.
The states with the highest decrease in jobless claims were California, New York and North Carolina, while Michigan and Wisconsin showed the highest increase.
However, economy analysts claim that the figures are a sign that fewer workers are being laid off but they do not yet indicate sustained job growth.
Economic growth in the third quarter is proving to be stronger than the first half of the year, according to Dawn Desjardins, economist with the Royal Bank of Canada. “The improving trends in claims points to these modest employment gains continuing as the U.S. economy navigates through this period of high uncertainty,” Desjardins said in a web commentary.