The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits plummeted last week 31,000 to a seasonally adjusted 292,000. But the drop was mostly because of technical issues in two states that delayed the processing of applications.
The Labor Department says less volatile four-week average fell to 321,250, the lowest in six years.
A department spokesman says the steep drop occurred because two states upgraded their computer systems last week and did not process all their applications. "This is not necessarily an indication of a change in labor market conditions," he said. He would not identify the states.
Even so, prior to the glitch applications had dropped 7 percent in the previous three months.