Initial Claims Fall to Five-Year Low as Job Expansion Appears on Track

January 24, 2013 11:22 AM EST Send to a Friend
Americans filing for unemployment insurance fell to multi-year lows last week as firings stemmed following the fiscal cliff deal.

According to data out of the U.S. labor department, initial jobless claims dropped 5,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 300,000 for the week ended January 19th. Analysts were looking for a reading of 360,000 claims, according to market data.

That is the lowest level since January 2008, when 318,000 people filed for claims.

The four-week moving average dropped 8,250 to 351,750, the lowest level since March 2008.

Those continuing to apply for insurance came in at 3.157 million, versus consensus views calling for 3.2000 million. The number is also down from a revised higher 3.228 million the prior week.

In total, the number of those applying for unemployment was equivalent to 2.5 percent of those paying into the system, flat from the prior week.

Whether claims are low based on job expansion or not is debatable. The U.S. added 155,000 jobs in December on top of a 161,000 gain the prior month. The additions have been able to stem initial claims over the last few months, moving the average down to 300,000 from the near-400,000 claims level.

U.S. markets are mixed Thursday, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones positive, while the Nasdaq is being pressured following an Apple earnings miss.


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