The U.S. Labor Department released its jobless claims figures on Thursday. The number of initial jobless claims in the week ending January 23 in the U.S. dropped by 16,000 to 278,000 from 294,000 in the previous week. The previous week's figure was revised down from 293,000.
Analysts had expected jobless claims to fall to 282,000.
Jobless claims remained below 300,000 the 47th straight week. This threshold is associated with the strengthening of the labour market.
Continuing jobless claims rose by 49,000 to 2,268,000 in the week ended January 16.