Jobless Claims in U.S. Decline to Lowest Level in Five Weeks


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Bloomberg News

Fewer Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week as improved weather conditions ushered in labor-market stabilization.
Jobless claims fell by 9,000 to 282,000 in the seven days ended March 21, the lowest level since mid-February, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington. The median forecast of 52 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 290,000. Another report showed consumer confidence climbed last week to match the second-highest level since July 2007.
A sustained low level of applications, which shows that employers are holding on to workers, typically coincides with more hiring. Continued gains in employment was one of the two signals, along with a pickup in inflation, that Federal Reserve officials last week said were necessary before raising rates.

 “If we continue to see claims down here, you can expect to see more payroll gains,” said Raymond Stone, managing director at Stone & McCarthy Research Associates in Princeton, New Jersey. “The good, strong gains we’ve seen in payrolls will continue.”
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