Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week than had been forecast, Bloomberg reported.
Jobless claims decreased by 22,000 to 344,000 in the holiday-shortened week that ended Feb. 23, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The numbers could indicate that companies are looking beyond looming government spending cuts and maintaining staffing.
The median forecast of 44 economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicted 360,000 people would file applications. The number of people collecting unemployment insurance dropped to the lowest level since June 2008.
The less-volatile four-week moving average fell to 355,000 from 361,750.