WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- The number of U.S. citizens initially applying for unemployment aid made a sharp downturn last week, indicating the job market may maintain its momentum, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits was 339,000 in the week ending Oct. 6, down 30,000 from the previous week's up-revised figure. It was the lowest level since February 2008.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average, which helps smooth out week-to-week volatility, dropped to 364,000, a decrease of 11,500 from the previous week's revised figure. It was a six-month low.
The number of jobless claims below 375,000 generally indicates a sustained drop in the unemployment rate. The fresh figure echoed the recent good news that the U.S. jobless rate dropped to 7.8 percent in September, the first time below 8 percent in almost four years and matching the level when President Barack Obama took office.
With economic issues center to the Presidential race, better job prospects may help the incumbent against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, as the November elections draw nearer.
In addition, the report showed that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Sept. 29 was 3.273 million, a decrease of 15,000 from the prior week.
To boost the anemic economic growth and labor market, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced last month that it would expand its holdings of mortgage debt until the labor market improved significantly. But the global economy cooling and concerns over U.S. fiscal cliffs still dampen the outlook of employment.