The Straits Times
Published on Jan 24, 2013

US jobless claims drop to 5-year low; labour market healing


WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell to its lowest since the early days of the 2007-2009 recession, a hopeful sign for the sluggish labour market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 330,000, the lowest level since January 2008, the Labour Department said on Thursday.

Claims have now fallen for two straight weeks, suggesting that if employers are concerned tax hikes enacted this year will affect consumer demand, this is not leading to more layoffs.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected claims to rise to 355,000 last week.