Source: Annalyn Censky / CNN
NEW YORK – Fewer Americans filed for their first week of unemployment benefits last week. So few in fact, that initial claims were at their lowest level since May 2008.
About 366,000 people filed initial jobless claims in the week ended Dec. 10, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was a decrease of 19,000 from the prior week, and far better than the bigger influx of claims that economists were expecting.
Last week marked the lowest level of initial unemployment claims since May 31, 2008, a welcome sign that hiring may have picked up further in December. Economists often look for the weekly tally to stay below 400,000 to signal that job growth is strong enough to lower theunemployment rate, which is currently at 8.6%.
Amid the worst of the recession, unemployment offices around the country were at one point processing as many as 659,000 initial claims per week. The influx of applications has slowed since then, and after flatlining this summer, it seems to be improving further.
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