WASHINGTON (AP) -The number of people signing up for unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in two months, an encouraging sign that companies aren't resorting to deeper layoffs even as the economy has lost momentum.
The Labor Department says new claims for unemployment aid plunged last week by a seasonally adjusted 27,000 to 451,000. Economists had predicted a much smaller decline of just 2,000. The number of new claims filed in the previous week turned out to be flat, versus a small drop as first reported. But they fell sharply the week before.
Even with latest decline, claims are still much higher than they would be in a healthy economy. When the economy is growing strongly, claims drop to below 400,000.