Bloomberg (01/17/13) Alex Kowalski
The number of applicants for new jobless benefits fell last week to the lowest level since January 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today, pointing to further improvement in the labor market. Initial applications for unemployment benefits sank by 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 335,000 in the week ended Jan. 12. Economists forecast 369,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. A spokesman for the agency said the drop may reflect the difficulty the government has in adjusting the data after the holidays when seasonal workers are let go. The one-month average of claims fell by a smaller 6,750 to stand at 359,250, which is still near a four-year low.