There were 320,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, the Employment and Training Administration says.
While that's 5,000 more than were filed the week before, it's also a level that's at the lower end of the recent range for such claims and is roughly the pace they were running before the economy slipped into its most recent recession in December 2007.
Bloomberg News sifts through the report and concludes that it's "a sign the labor market continues to strengthen."
Reuters notes that the increase was less than expected and points to "some underlying strength in the labor market."
MarketWatch points out that:
"The number of people seeking benefits each week is seen as a good gauge of how many layoffs are occurring in the economy. The latest claims report took place during the survey week used by Labor to calculate monthly employment growth for March, suggesting that job creation could end higher compared to the first two months of the year. A lower claims figure typically correlates with higher monthly job growth."