Initial claims for jobless benefits fell slightly to 395,000 for the week ending August 6, according to Labor Department data released Thursday. They had not dropped below the key 400,000 threshold that economists say is needed to dent unemployment since early April.
Claims fell from 402,000 the previous week and had been expected to stay steady at 400,000, according to economists surveyed by Reuters. The Labor Department found that jobless claims fell below the key level in the last week of July, but later revised that number up.
The report comes amid a volatile week for Wall Street, with stocks tumbling Monday, rallying Tuesday, then tumbling again to close down more than 500 points on Wednesday. Futures point to a lower open on Thursday, but the claims report provides a glimmer of good news ahead of the opening bell.
The 4-week moving average, a less-volatile gauge of labor-market health, fell to 405,000 from last week’s revised average of 408,250.