Initial jobless claims decreased by 20,000 to 512,000 in the week ending Oct. 31, the lowest number of claims since January, the Labor Department reported yesterday.
Continuing claims declined by 68,000 to 5.749 million for the week ending Oct. 24.
Continuing claims have fallen for seven consecutive weeks and are at the lowest level since March 21.
Seasonal factors were causing expectations for a slight increase in initial claims, a Labor official said.
No states or territories were estimated for the report.
Economists expected 524,000 initial claims and 5.750 million continuing claims, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.
The four-week moving average for initial claims declined to 523,750, the 10th straight weekly drop.
The four-week average for continuing claims dropped to 5.886 million.
Initial claims were revised higher for the week ending Oct. 24 to 532,000 from 530,000.
Continuing claims were revised to 5.817 million from 5.797 million.