The number of Americans filing claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to the lowest level in more than five years, a signal employers are confident enough in the economic outlook to hold onto workers.
Applications for unemployment insurance payments decreased by 4,000 to 323,000 in the week ended May 4, the least since January 2008, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 335,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. For the first time, the average over the past month was the lowest since before the last recession began.
Dismissals have dropped in 2013 as employers rely on existing staff to meet demand. Further advances in the labor market hinge on whether hiring will pick up, helping put some of the 11.7 million unemployed Americans back to work and giving consumer spending a lift.
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