Economists often prefer to look at a four-week moving average, to smooth out some of the large swings in the data.
That indicator increased to 365,500 last week and has been hovering in the 360,000 to 380,000 range since July.Claims around that level suggest layoffs remain low -- an encouraging sign for the economy -- but don't necessarily mean hiring has picked up.
"The labor market, just like the broader economy, is plodding along at a deliberate pace," said Thomas Simons, money market economist for Jefferies.
September jobs report breakdown
Meanwhile, about 3.3 million Americans continued to file for their second week of unemployment benefits in the week ended October 6, the most recent data available.
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