Initial jobless claims fell 12,000 to 215,000 in the week ended March 24, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the lowest level for claims since January 1973.
The claims figure for the prior week was revised downward by 2,000 to 227,000.
Continuing jobless claims were 1.871 million in the week ended March 17, up 35,000 from 1.836 million the week before.
IFR Markets expected 230,000 initial claims and 1.875 million continuing claims.
The four-week average of initial claims fell by 500 in the week ended March 24 to 224,500.