Looking slightly better.
Applications for jobless benefits (INJCJC) decreased 15,000 in the week ended Dec. 31 to 372,000, Labor Department figures showed today. The median estimate of 38 economists in a Bloomberg News survey forecast 375,000 claims. The average over the past four weeks declined to the lowest level in more than three years.
The less-volatile four-week moving average (INJCJC4) decreased to 373,250, the lowest since June 2008, from 376,500.
The number of people continuing (INJCSP) to collect jobless benefits fell by 22,000 in the week ended Dec. 24 to 3.6 million. The continuing claims figure does not include the number of workers receiving extended benefits under federal programs.