WASHINGTON -- First-time jobless claims dropped significantly last week to below the 350,000 level, reversing a sharp rise the previous week.
There were 346,000 people who filed initial claims for unemployment benefits in the week that ended Saturday, down from the previous week's revised figure of 388,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Economists say weekly claims below 350,000 indicate a moderately growing labor market.
Claims had been below that level for four out of five weeks before unexpectedly spiking in the week that ended March 30.
Analysts speculated that the increase could have been related to problems with the Labor Department's seasonal adjustment around the Easter holiday and school spring breaks.