Initial jobless claims fell to 280,000.
Expectations were for claims to come in at 305,000, down from last week’s revised reading of 316,000.
The four-week moving average of initial jobless claims fell back below 300,000 to 299,500, down 4,750 from last week’s average.
Continuing claims also fell to 2,429,000, down 63,000 from last week’s revised level and the lowest level for continuing claims since May 19, 2007.
In a note to clients ahead of Thursday’s report, Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macro said he expected claims to fall back below 300,000 this week as the Labour Day impact reverses.
With last week’s report, economists at Barclays noted that while the Labour Department reported no special factors in the report, economists at Bloomberg reported the Labour Department as noting difficulty with estimating jobless claims around the Labour Day holiday.