The number of Americans filing for initial jobless claims fell to a four-year low of 350,000 in the week ending July 7, government data showed today.
It was the lowest number since March 2008 and was significantly better than analysts’ forecasts for 372,000 new applicants, Reuters reported.
The US Labor Department revised up the previous week’s jobless claims figure – a measure of layoffs – to 376,000 from a previously reported 374,000.
The better-than-expected news is a positive sign for the struggling labor market and is likely to cheer investors, who have been grappling with a series of weak economic data recently.
Bloomberg reported that the data has already boosted investors’ risk appetite, with the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds rising from almost the lowest level ever this morning.
According to the Wall Street Journal, jobless claims have now fallen for three straight weeks. The more reliable four-week moving average of claims fell by 9,750 to 376,500, which was the lowest level since May.
But CNNMoney noted that the data might have been distorted by the July 4 holiday in the United States and the fact that fewer factories than normal suspended operations for their “retooling process,” which usually happens in early July and results in temporary layoffs.
More from GlobalPost: Business Insider: 13 people destroying the global economy