Ben Bernanke
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke had tied interest rate increases to a 6.5% unemployment "threshold"Reuters

Hiring is taking a positive turn in the world's largest economy as 2,000 less people in the US turned to unemployment benefits last week, according to seasonally adjusted official figures.

The Labor Department said 339,000 applicants signed-on for unemployment benefits in the week ending December 28 – down from 341,000 the week before.

The research body also revealed the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.2% for the week ending December 21 -unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate.

In addition, the department found the advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending December 21 was 2,833,000 - representing a decrease of 98,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,931,000.

The news follows the announcement by the Labor Department last month that unemployment in the US dropped from 7.3% to 7% in November – representing a five-year low.

Later in December the Federal Reserve, the country's central bank, slightly lowered its unemployment rate estimation for the US from between 6.4% and 6.8% to 6.3% and 6.6% for 2014.

The move was significant since the Fed's chairman Ben Bernanke had tied interest rate increases to a 6.5% unemployment "threshold" – meaning, like the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, he would consider hikes when the jobless rate hits this level.