Initial Jobless Claims Fall for Second Week
WASHINGTON -- The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more sharply than expected last week, a rare sign of resilience in the labor market this year. The four-week average of new claims, which economists use to smooth out weekly volatility, fell by 1,500 to 359,500, the second-straight decline (see chart above).
However, claims for benefits lasting longer than one week rose to a fresh two-and-a-half-year high. The data suggest that while labor markets are clearly softening, there is no sign of the kind of collapse that would deepen the economic downturn.