Hiring and Unemployment and Employees and Economic Recovery and Economy and Employment and Government & Economic Development

Jobless claims drop more than expected

March 25, 2010

New claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week as layoffs ease and hiring slowly recovers.

The Labor Department said first-time claims dropped by 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 442,000. That's below analysts' estimate of 450,000, according to Thomson Reuters.

But most of the drop resulted from a change in the calculations the department makes to seasonally adjust the data, a Labor Department analyst said. The department updates its methods every year. Excluding the effect of those adjustments, claims would have fallen by only 4,000.

The four-week average of claims, which smooths volatility, dropped by 11,000 to 453,750, the lowest since September 2008, when the financial crisis intensified.

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