U.S. jobless claims fall 50,000 to 352,000
U.S. jobless claims fall 50,000 to 352,000 (by Jeffry Bartash)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The number of Americans who filed requests for jobless benefits sank by 50,000 last week to 352,000, the lowest level since April 2008, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. Claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 402,000 from 399,000. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had projected claims would fall to a seasonally adjusted 375,000 in the week ended Jan. 14. The average of new claims over the past four weeks, meanwhile, dropped by a much smaller 3,500 to 379,000. The monthly average is viewed as more accurate because it reduces volatility in the week-to-week data, which is especially pronounced in January after the end of the holiday season. Meanwhile, the Labor Department said continuing claims decreased by 215,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.43 million in the week ended Jan. 7. Continuing claims are reported with a one-week lag. About 7.83 million people received some kind of state or federal benefit in the week ended Dec. 31, up 493,566 from the prior week. Total claims are reported with a two-week lag.