Washington: The number of US people initially applying for unemployment aid last week reversed the previous week's rise, authorities said.
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits was 350,000 in the week ending Dec 22, down 12,000 from the previous week's revised figure, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average, which helps smooth out week-to-week volatility, also declined dramatically to 356,750, the lowest level since March 2008, reported Xinhua.
Claims below 375,000 generally indicates a sustained drop in the unemployment rate.
Applications have mostly stayed near that level from the spring to October, except for a surge in November sparked by the effects of superstorm Sandy on the north east coast.
However, the Christmas holiday may have distorted the figures as many state unemployment offices were closed Monday and Tuesday and another week will be needed to build a more accurate picture.