NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The government added about 5,000 fewer newcomers to its unemployment benefit rolls last week.
Americans filing first-time unemployment claims fell to 382,000, in the week ended March 19, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was down from the previous week's revised 387,000.
"While a 5,000 decrease isn't a huge number, any move downward is very good news," said Jennifer Lee, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets. "At the end of the day, Americans need to have a job."
Initial claims often bump around from week to week, but overall, they've trended lower since the beginning of the year, pointing to improvement in the job market, albeit at a sluggish pace.
The 4-week moving average of initial claims, which smooths out volatility, is at its lowest level since 2008, after falling 1,500 to 385,250 from the previous week's revised average of 386,750.
One recently retired airline worker on Obamacare said his tax credit for 2014 will return him $3,600 for the year, or 23% of his annual income. He's watching the dueling court rulings closely. More
Ladar Levison, the guy behind Lavabit, is launching Dark Mail to encrypt emails so the NSA doesn't even know who's talking. More