New claims for jobless benefits drop sharply

WASHINGTON (AP) - First-time claims for jobless benefits fell
sharply last week, evidence that employers are cutting fewer
workers as the economy recovers.

The Labor Department says initial claims for unemployment
insurance fell 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 456,000. That was
slightly below analysts' estimates of 458,000, according to Thomson

The drop comes after claims rose sharply in the previous two
weeks. A Labor Department analyst attributed those increases to
seasonal adjustment difficulties around the Easter holiday, which
falls on different weeks each year.

The tally of people continuing to claim benefits, meanwhile,
dropped by 40,000 to 4.65 million, the department says.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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