WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The number of U.S. people initially applying for unemployment aid last week declined after leveling off a week earlier, signaling a brighter outlook for the labor market, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits was 365,000 in the week ending Sept. 1, down 12,000 from the previous week's revised figure.
However, the four-week moving average, which helps smooth out week-to-week volatility, inched up to 371,250.
The number of jobless claims below 375,000 generally indicates a sustained drop in the unemployment rate. Economists say that the latest data of jobless claims suggest the labor market is healing but the pace of improvement is not enough to drag down unemployment rate.
From April to June, U.S. employers only added an average of 75,000 jobs per month, far less than an average of over 220,000 in the first three months this year. But the job growth rebounded in July, with the addition of 163,000 new jobs.
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Aug. 25 was 3.322 million, down 6,000 from the prior week.
While the job growth accelerated in July, the unemployment rate still moved higher to 8.3 percent. In addition, the U.S. economy only expanded at an annual rate of 1.7 percent in the second quarter this year.