WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to the lowest level since July 2008, a hopeful sign that improvement in the job market is accelerating.
The Labor Department says that weekly unemployment claims dropped by 34,000 to a seasonally adjusted 407,000 in the week ending Nov. 20. Wall Street analysts expected a much smaller drop.
A Labor Department analyst says weekly claims are volatile during the week between the Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving holidays.
A key question is whether claims will remain this low in future weeks, or bounce back.