Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jobless claims drop to near 4-year low

The Bottom Line reports: New applications for unemployment benefits dropped to near a four-year low in the latest week, government data shows today, providing further evidence that the U.S. job market has gained a bit of momentum.

The Labor Department reported that seasonally adjusted jobless claims fell 50,000 in the week ended Jan. 14, to 352,000 from a revised 402,000 the prior week.

The 4-week moving average, considered a better gauge of labor market trends because it smooths out wrinkles in the data, was 379,000, a decrease of 3,500 from the previous week's revised average of 382,500.

Meanwhile the agency also reported that consumer prices were flat for a second straight month in December as gasoline fell and food rose moderately, suggesting scope for further monetary easing should economic growth falter.

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