The number of jobless claims fell to its lowest level in four and a half years last week at 339,000, the Labor Department announced on Thursday.
Dropping by 30,000 applications, this could offer a sign of an improving job market and more hiring in the coming months. It is also lower than the 370,000 claims some economists had originally forecast, Bloomberg reports.
The decrease can be tied to one large state that showed a major drop in applications, which stands in contrast to increases in many other states, Bloomberg reports.
Weekly unemployment applications, which are often an indicator for layoffs and other changes in the employment landscape, have generally shifted from week to week, the Associated Press reports. A drop below 375,000 claims consistently suggests strong hiring.
Last week, the Labor Department announced that for the first time since President Obama took office, the unemployment rate hit 7.8 percent, a number lower than many economists predicted.