US jobless claims drop
Washington, February 11, 2011
New US claims for jobless benefits dropped to a 2-1/2-year low last week, pointing to a firming undertone in the labour market as the economic recovery gathers momentum.
Although the decline reported by the Labour Department yesterday partially reflected the unwinding of a weather-related spike in late January, analysts said it was consistent with other indicators suggesting a strengthening labour market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 36,000 to a seasonally adjusted 383,000, the lowest since early July 2008, the Labour Department said.
The data came on the heels of today's report showing the economy created a paltry 36,000 jobs in January. Investors saw the claims report as yet more evidence that the economic growth pace was accelerating.
Last week's fall in initial claims took them below the 400,000 mark and economists say sustained declines would signal strong job growth.
The number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programmes after an initial week of aid declined 47,000 to 3.89 million in the week ended January 29.
A total of 9.4m people were claiming unemployment benefits during that period under all programmes.