The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments fell last week to the lowest level in five years, Bloomberg reported.
Applications for jobless benefits decreased by 37,000 to 335,000 in the week ended Jan. 12, the lowest level since the period ended Jan. 19, 2008, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Economists had forecast 369,000 claims.
Part of the drop could reflect government difficulty in adjusting the data after the holidays when seasonal workers are let go, but fewer claims could also indicate that businesses have grown comfortable with their current head counts.
The four-week moving average, a less-volatile measure, dropped to 359,250 from 366,000.
"The labor market is certainly getting better," said Brian Jones, senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale, in an interview with Bloomberg.