US jobless aid applications fell to 234000 last week

New applications for USA unemployment benefits recorded their biggest drop in almost two years last week, pointing to a further tightening in the labor market.

USA initial jobless claims declined to 234,000 in the week ending April 1st from a revised 259,000 the previous week which was originally reported as 258,000. The drop was the largest since the week ending April 25, 2015. The weekly figure has remained below 300,000, a level linked with job growth, for 109 weeks.

The labor market is now near full employment. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dipped to 250,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 250,000 from the 258,000 originally reported for the previous week. The employment report for March due on Friday is expected to show an increase of at least 178,000 new jobs, according to economists polled by MarketWatch.

On Wednesday, payroll processor ADP said that private businesses added 263,000 jobs in March, the most since December 2014. The unemployment rate is seen steady at 4.7 percent.

Continuing jobless claims, or the number of people already collecting unemployment checks, fell by 24,000 to 2.03 million. The four-week moving average for this figure also fell 7,750 to 2,023,000 - its lowest level in almost 17 years. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities.

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  • Arturo Norris