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Jobless claims fall sharply to 4-month low

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Fewer people applied for unemployment aid last week, the third drop in four weeks and possible evidence that the job market is showing signs of life.

If the decline continues, it could signal more hiring in the near future. The report comes after the U.S. Labor Department said last week that private employers added the most jobs in six months in October.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that initial claims for jobless aid dropped by 24,000, to a seasonally adjusted 435,000. Many Wall Street economists expected a smaller decrease.

The four-week average of claims, a less volatile measure, fell 10,000, to 446,500. That's the lowest level for the average since the week that ended Sept. 13, 2008, just before the financial crisis intensified with the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Weekly first-time claims are now at their lowest level since early July, when they were temporarily lowered by the July 4 holiday. Last week's figures are the second-lowest this year.

Applications fell partly because the weather has been relatively warm so far this fall, a Labor Department analyst said, and construction and manufacturing firms haven't temporarily laid off as many workers due to cold weather as they have in the past.

Claims have previously dropped sharply this year, but have always bounced back. Applications have fluctuated around 450,000 for most of this year, after falling last year from about 600,000 when the recession ended in June 2009. Economists say claims need to drop below 425,000 to signal a healthy pace of hiring.

Applications for unemployment benefits, while volatile, provide a real-time snapshot of the job market. They are a measure of the pace of layoffs and signal whether companies are adding jobs.

Some companies are hiring new workers, despite the slow economy. US Airways said Monday that it plans to hire 500 flight attendants and pilots next year, mostly to cover planned retirements and attrition. The jobs will initially be offered to former employees laid off during the downturn.

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  • Why it is getting better
    It goes to show that the President's response to the GOP Financial Crisis of 2008 is working. For the GOP somehow thinking that it would be solved overnight was only using it for political leverage in the elections. Their official policy mirrors what they did in 1929 (or didn't do). By the time FDR took over from the republicans, unemployment grew to 20%and was rapidly rising. The president prevented another GOP Depression and unemployment only went to about 10% nationally. It might have been lower in Indiana had the Governor not blocked and redirected the stimulus efforts. Time to wake up and see the facts for what they are.

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  1. I still don't understand how the FBI had any right whatsoever to investigate this elderly collector. Before the Antiquities Act it was completely legal to buy, trade or collect Native American artifacts. I used to see arrow heads, axes, bowls, corn grinders at antique shops and flea markets for sale and I bought them myself. But that was in the late 60's and early 70's. And I now know that people used to steal items from sites and sell them. I understand that is illegal. But we used to find arrow heads and even a corn grinder in our back yard when I was a child. And I still have those items today in my small collection.

  2. I lived in California and they had many of the things noted in the proposed suggestions from the "Blue Ribbon Panel". California is near financial collapse now. Let's not turn the great state of Indiana into a third world dump like California.

  3. The temporary closure of BR Avenue will get a lot of attention. But, one thing reported by the IndyStar really stands out to me, and is extraordinarily depressing: “Police also have agreed to crack down on noise violations, traffic violations and public intoxication.” In other words, the police have generously agreed to do their jobs (temporarily, at least), instead of just standing around waiting for someone to call 911. When is someone in this department going to get off their fat arse (looking at you, Chief), get their minds out of 1975-era policing and into 2014, and have his department engage in pro-active work instead of sitting around waiting for someone to be shot? Why in the hell does it take 7 people getting shot in one night in one of the city’s biggest tourist destinations, to convince the police (reluctantly, it would appear) that they actually need to do their f’n jobs? When is the Chief going to realize that there’s a huge, direct, proven correlation between enforcing the law (yes, all laws, especially those affecting quality of life) and preventing larger crimes from occurring? Is it racial BS? Is that what this extraordinary reluctance is all about? Is the department and the city terrified that if they do their jobs, they might offend someone? Whom, exactly? Will the victims of violence, murder, assault, rape, robbery, and theft be offended? Will the citizens who have to tolerate their deteriorating quality of life be offended? Will the businesses who see their customers flee be offended? Or, is it simple ignorance (maybe the Chief hasn’t heard about NYC’s success in fighting crime - it’s only the biggest g*&#am city in the country, after all)? Either way, Chief, if you don’t want to do your job, then step down. Let someone who actually wants the job take it.

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  5. I was a fan of WIBC in the morning, Steve was the only WIBC host that I listened too, he gave the news with so much flare that I enjoyed listening to him on my way to work. Katz is no Steve. Sadly, I will not be listening to WIBC anymore.

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