Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell during the week that ended April 6, according to new figures released by the Labor Department (DoL). There were 346,000 total new claims during the time period, a decline of 42,000 from the previous week. The fall in claims is the largest week-to-week drop since November 2012.
The insured unemployment rate was was 2.4 percent for the week ending March 30, the same rate as the previous week.
The four-week moving average of unemployment claims was on the rise, up 3,000 from the previous week's revised average of 355,000 to 358,000. The moving average in the insured unemployment rate inched up by 1 percent to 3,079,250.
Despite the increases in the the four-week average, current levels remain at the point where economists normally expect payroll gains of about 150,000 per month.
The weekly drop in claims came as a surprise to some analysts. According to CNBC, a majority of economists polled by Reuters expected unemployment rates would only fall to 365,000 and thus saw a better than expected result. The good news follows worse than expected jobs numbers for March.
"We have seen considerable improvements in this series, and the labor market, particularly when it comes to layoffs," Ameriprise Financial economist Russell Price told CNBC.