U.S. initial jobless claims rose 10,000 to 311,000 in the most recent week reported, the U.S. Labor Department announced Thursday – a level that suggests while job growth may not be robust, the labor market continues to heal via reduced layoffs.

The more-telling four-week moving average also also fell by 9,500 to 317,750. Economists emphasize the more-telling 4-week moving average, as it smooths out anomalies due to holidays, strikes, and weather-related layoffs, etc.

Further, the consensus among economists is that employers have eliminated about as many jobs as they possible could have during the U.S. economy's most-recent restructuring, and that hiring should pick-up, if aggregate demand increases.

The Labor Department also said continuing claims fell by 53,000 to 2.82 million for the week ending March 15 – the latest week for which data is available. A year ago, continuing claims totaled 3.07 million.