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U.S. Jobless Claims Flash Some Warning Signs

Wall Street Journal (01/22/15) Eric Morath

Even though the number of Americans filing new jobless claims last week decreased by 10,000 to 307,000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number was near a seven-month high, indicating that there may be a loss of momentum in the job market. Initial jobless claims remain near historic lows, but layoffs have picked up somewhat earlier this year.

Last summer, initial claims dropped below 300,000 and remained that way for the rest of the year, the best streak since 2000; that coincided with a strong year for hiring. December’s unemployment rate was 5.6%, the lowest since 2008, and employers have added more than 200,000 jobs for 11 consecutive months.