- Special Sections
- Public Notices
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level in four years, adding to evidence that the job market is strengthening.
Applications for weekly unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 359,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the fewest applicants since April 2008. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined to 365,000 — the fewest for that measure since May 2008.
When unemployment benefit applications drop consistently below 375,000, it usually signals that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate. The decline has coincided with the best three months of hiring in two years.
The department made annual revisions to the past five years of data, which increased the number of applications in recent months and showed a slower decline. Still, even after the revisions, applications have fallen roughly 12 percent over the past six months.
Most economists still expect another strong month of hiring in March.
"The trend remains unambiguously downwards," said Ian Shepherdson, an economist at High Frequency Economics. "We think the rate of decline ... is slowing ... but they are still consistent with robust, sustained payroll gains."
If you currently subscribe or have subscribed in the past to the Los Alamos Monitor, then simply find your account number on your mailing label and enter it below.
Click the question mark below to see where your account ID appears on your mailing label.
If you are new to the award winning Los Alamos Monitor and wish to get a subscription or simply gain access to our online content then please enter your ZIP code below and continue to setup your account.