Wall Street Journal (03/07/13) Jeffrey Sparshott; Sarah Portlock
The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, the latest sign of a slowly improving labor market. The U.S. Department of Labor reported today that initial jobless claims decreased by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 in the week ended March 2. It was the third lowest number of initial claims in five years. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast 350,000 new applications for jobless benefits. The average of new claims over the past month, which smoothes out weekly volatility, fell by 7,000 to 348,750, touching its lowest level since March 2008.