First-time claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell for the week ending January 5. Jobless claims decreased by 15,000 to 322,000, from an upwardly revised 337,000 from the prior week. Economists had forecast an increase of 4,000.
The 4-week moving average, a less volatile measure, fell to 341,000 from 344,000.
29 states and territories reported an increase in new jobless claims, while 23 reported a decrease.