The Labor Department reported a drop in initial jobless claims for the latest week. First-time claims fell by 22,000, to 356,000, from an upwardly revised 378,000 the prior week.
The 4-week moving average also rose, increasing 8,500 to 335,000. It's the highest since January 5th. The 4-week moving average is a less volatile and more accurate measure of the direction of jobless claims.
Continuing jobless claims, however, hit a high not seen since October 2005. The Labor Department reported an increase of 75,000 to 2.78 million.