Bloomberg (03/01/12) Alex Kowalski
New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits edged down last week, matching four-year lows, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report on Thursday that suggested the labor market was gaining momentum. Applications for unemployment insurance decreased 2,000 in the week ended Feb. 25 to 351,000. Economists forecast 355,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls fell, while those getting extended payments also declined. Firing is on a downward trend as employers gain confidence in the outlook for economic growth. A smaller number of layoffs also puts those companies in place to hire additional employees as demand picks up.