First-time claims for jobless benefits fell sharply last week, evidence that employers are cutting fewer workers as the economy recovers.
The Labor Department says initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 456,000. That was slightly below analysts' estimates of 458,000, according to Thomson Reuters.
The drop comes after claims rose sharply in the previous two weeks. A Labor Department analyst attributed those increases to seasonal adjustment difficulties around the Easter holiday, which falls on different weeks each year.
The tally of people continuing to claim benefits, meanwhile, dropped by 40,000 to 4.65 million, the department says.