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US jobless claims tumble to three-month low in hopeful sign

Published on Mar 6, 2014 10:23 PM
 

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected and hit a three-month low last week, a sign of strength in a labour market that has been hobbled by severe weather.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That was the lowest level since the end of November and the drop more than unwound the prior week's rise.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits falling to 338,000 in the week ended March 1.

The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labour market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, slipped 2,000 to 336,500.

 
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