Jobless Claims Fall 16,000 to 453,000
Analysts surveyed by Reuters forecast claims of 460,000.
Companies that laid off workers are reluctant to hire new workers in a weak economy, with consumers saving and paying down debt rather than spending.
"We're still at the very early stages of gradual improvement," David Semmens, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York told Bloomberg News before the report. "Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be picking up any momentum."
The four-week moving average, a clearer measure of unemployment trends, fell 6,250 to 458,000, the Department of Labor said. The revised average for the previous week was 464,250.