Reuters (04/25/13) Annalyn Kurtz
Applications for jobless benefits decreased by 16,000 to 339,000 in the week ended April 20, the lowest since March 9, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Labor. The figure is slightly lower than expected. Economists had forecast jobless claims would fall to 351,000, according to Briefing.com.
The figures indicate companies have enough confidence to maintain current staffing levels and are in a position to add to headcount should sales strengthen. At the same time, recent data showing the economy began to cool at the end of the first quarter give businesses reason to pause, prolonging the time it takes joblessness to retreat to prerecession levels.