WASHINGTON (AP) - New claims for jobless benefits fell last week
in a sign that layoffs may be easing as the economy slowly
The Labor Department said that initial claims for unemployment
insurance fell by 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 469,000. That
nearly matches Wall Street analysts' estimates of 470,000.
Still, the drop only partly reverses a sharp rise in claims in
the previous two weeks. Those increases had raised concerns that
layoffs weren't slowing as quickly as many economists hoped.
Those earlier increases also partly resulted from a backlog of
claims that had built up in state agencies that closed during
severe snowstorms last month.
The number of people continuing to claim benefits, meanwhile,
fell more than expected to 4.5 million.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)