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US / Jobless Claims at Lowest Level since January 2008

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to its lowest level in nearly 5-1/2 years last week, signaling labor market resilience in the face of fiscal austerity.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, the lowest level since January 2008, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Claims for the prior week were revised to show 3,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to rise to 335,000 last week.

The third straight weekly decline in claims pushed them further below the 350,000 mark, which economists normally associate with a firming labor market.

Claims are showing no sign of a pick-up in layoffs even as other parts of the economy such as manufacturing start to show strain from tighter fiscal policy.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor

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via US Jobless Claims Fall to Lowest Level in Almost 5-1/2 Years.

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