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Initial Jobless Claims in U.S. Held Last Week at Four-Year Low of 351,000

Bloomberg (02/23/12) Alex Kowalski

Jobless claims in the U.S. were unchanged last week at a seasonally adjusted 351,000, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today, more evidence the labor market is improving. The median projection in a Bloomberg News survey called for 355,000 claims, marking the fourth straight week that the figures have been better than forecast. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls dropped to the lowest level since August 2008.

The four-week average of claims, meanwhile, fell by 7,000 to 359,000, the lowest level since March 2008. The drop in jobless claims indicates companies may be growing more optimistic about the outlook for the economy, and could set the stage for bigger gains in hiring.