Jobless Claims in U.S. Decline to a Nine-Week Low
First-time claims for unemployment insurance payments declined more than forecast last week to the lowest level since early October, adding to evidence the labor market is improving.
Applications for jobless benefits fell by 29,000 to 343,000 in the week ended Dec. 8, the fewest since reaching a four-year low in the period ended Oct. 6, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 369,000 claims, according to the Bloomberg survey median. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls declined for a fourth straight week.
Jobless claims have dropped 108,000 in the latest four weeks after a superstorm Sandy-related surge, indicating companies are comfortable with current staffing levels. To help encourage more hiring, the Federal Reserve said yesterday that it intends to keep policy accommodative until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent from the current 7.7 percent.