The jobs market appears to be returning to growth, with new applications for unemployment benefits falling to the lowest level since November amid other signs hiring is picking up.
Initial weekly unemployment claims decreased by 111,000 to a seasonally adjusted 730,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was also the biggest drop in new applications for regular state programs since last summer.
The latest figures came as storms disrupted business in parts of the country and at least one state is adjusting for attempted fraud filings, factors that could have affected the totals. Still, weekly claims have dropped significantly since an early January peak above 900,000 and the four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility in the weekly figures, dropped to 807,750.