Jobless claims dipped slightly for the week ending Dec. 28, falling by 2,000 filings to 339,000, the latest report from the U.S. Department of Labor said.
However, analysts with Econoday noted that holiday adjustment issues clouded the data.
"The 4-week average is not favorable, up a steep 8,500 to a 357,250 level that is more than 30,000 above the level in late November," analysts added.
Looking ahead, analysts said the reading would be considered high for the 4-week moving average and a negative sign for the December jobs report if not for the holiday volatility.
Partially due to an influx of hiring for seasonal jobs, jobless claims remain skewed.
"When you look month to month, it is very difficult to separate seasonal trends from long-term trends," said Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist with Freddie Mac. "I am hopeful there is an undercurrent of strengthening and that it is not all seasonal."
The report will likely not smooth out for a couple of weeks.