In the week ending the 17th of March, US initial jobless claims extended their downtrend, falling to the lowest level since February 2008. Initial jobless claims dropped from an upwardly revised 353 000 to 348 000, while the consensus was looking for a broadly stable figure at 351 000. The less volatile four-week moving average dropped from 356 250 to 355 000. Continuing claims, which are reported with an extra week lag, extended their downtrend too and dropped to the lowest level since August 2008. In the week ending the 10th of March, continuing claims dropped from an upwardly adjusted 3 361 000 to 3 352 000, while the consensus was looking for an uptick to 3 380 000. The labour department said that there was nothing unusual in the data. After the upward surprise at the start of March, it is an encouraging sign that the downward trend in jobless claims continues, providing further evidence that the US labour market is improving.