Jobless Claims Fall Another 15K

New applications for jobless benefits fell by 15,000 in the week ended February 4, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington.

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Economists had forecast 370,000 claims, according to Bloomberg, but instead the number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance declined to 358,000, bringing the four-week moving average to 366,250, the lowest since April 26, 2008.

The number of people continuing to collect jobless benefits rose by 64,000 in the week ended January 28, to 3.52 million. The continuing claims figure does not include those who are receiving extended benefits under federal programs.

The number of Americans who have run out of traditional benefits and are now collecting emergency and extended payments rose by about 18,650 to 3.5 million in the week ended January 21.

The unemployment rate among those eligible for benefits, which tends to track the national unemployment rate, rose to 2.8 percent in the week ended January 28, from 2.7 percent the previous week.

Initial jobless claims reflect weekly firings, and their decline demonstrates an easing of dismissals that correlates with the drop in the unemployment rate, which fell in January to a three-year low of 8.3 percent.

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