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Jobless Claims At Lowest Level In Five Years

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WASHINGTON (5/3/13)--The number of U.S. citizens filing initial claims for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level in more than five years. Claims fell 18,000--to a seasonally adjusted 324,000--for the week ended April 27, the Labor Department said Thursday.

That level--the lowest since January 2008--indicates companies are retaining workers, and that the job market is improving despite an overall weakness in the broader economy--a positive signal (The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Bloomberg.com May 2).

Economists had predicted 345,000 initial claims last week, according to a survey conducted by Bloomberg

Typically, fewer layoffs tend to go hand-in-hand with increased hiring, the Journal said. However, without a boost in economic growth, companies may be hesitant to hire more employees in coming months, Bloomberg said.

Although employers are not cutting workers, they are not aggressively adding new workers either, Tom Simons, an economist at Jefferies LLC in New York, told Bloomberg. The hiring lull is due to some caution regarding the future of government fiscal policy and the economy's low growth level, he added.