Wall Street Journal (07/12/12) Josh Mitchell; Eric Morath
U.S. jobless claims fell by 26,000 last week to 350,000, but onetime factors such as fewer auto-sector layoffs than normal likely caused the sharp decline, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Still, the seasonally adjusted drop in claims in recent weeks offers hope that the labor market might be slowly improving. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast 370,000 new applications for jobless benefits last week. The level of claims is the lowest in four years. The four-week average of claims, meanwhile, decreased by a smaller 9,750 to 376,500.