President Trump’s first week in office saw new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 14,000 to 246,000, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The decline was better than expected. Business forecasters had projected jobless claims to ease back down only to around 254,000.

Low jobless claims are a good sign, because if few people are enrolling for benefits at state agencies it suggests that layoffs are decreasing.

Over the past month, new weekly jobless claims have been running just under the 250,000 mark. That is well below the roughly 300,000 mark that economists reckon would signal rising unemployment.

Thursday’s jobless claims are another sign that the labor market was nearing full strength and still recovering when Trump took office.

The U.S. has added an average of 165,000 new payroll jobs for the past three months, roughly twice as much as needed to keep up with population growth, and unemployment stood at 4.7 percent in December, close to as low Federal Reserve officials think it can sustainably go.

The strong jobless claims number will raise expectations for the January jobs report, due out Friday morning. Before Thursday’s better-than-expected jobless claims report was released, business economists anticipated that the jobs report would show around 175,000 new jobs in the month.

The Department of Labor adjusts the jobless claims for seasonal variations.

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