US weekly jobless claims continued to decline, falling a modest 9,000 to 363,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday.
New claims for unemployment insurance benefits in the week to October 27 -- an indicator of the pace of layoffs -- came in below the four-week moving trend of 367,250.
The fresh number was largely in the range of where the data has been since the beginning of 2012, though the trend has clearly been lower in the past four months.
On Friday the government releases it report on the national unemployment and jobs generation situation for October, data widely awaited as it comes just before the November 6 election which sees President Barack Obama fighting to defend his record in bringing back the economy from recession.
Economists believe the numbers will show a slight uptick in the jobless rate to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September.