Initial jobless claims unexpectedly dropped.
Claims, which count the number of people who applied for unemployment insurance for the first time, fell by 2,000 to 236,000.
Economists had forecast that claims would rise to 245,000 from the prior week’s reading of 238,000.
Initial jobless claims are used as a real-time proxy for the pace of layoffs since people usually file for benefits soon after they lose their jobs.
The four-week moving average came in at 243,500, an increase of 500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 243,000.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate came in at 1.4% for the week ending April 29, and the advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment came in at 1,918,000, the lowest level for insured unemployment since November 5, 1988. The four-week moving average was 1,965,500, the lowest level for this average since February 2, 1974.