The number of people filing for unemployment benefits last week dropped to 352,000, the lowest level since April 2008, the Department of Labor announced today.
The four-week moving average fell 5,000 to 379,000.
However, a Labor Department spokesperson said that volatility is common this time of year, especially this week when some states’ data had to be estimated because of the MLK holiday.
Economists had forecast that claims would drop by 19,000.
For the week ended Dec. 31, 7.8 million Americans were receiving some form of unemployment assistance, including 3 million who had exhausted their regular state checks and were receiving emergency extended checks.