Weekly US unemployment benefit applications slip to 339,000, a positive sign for hiring - InfoNews

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Weekly US unemployment benefit applications slip to 339,000, a positive sign for hiring

FILE - In this hursday Dec. 26, 2013 file photo, Richard Mattos, 59, looks for jobs at a state-run employment center in Salem, Ore. The Labor Department reports on the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits last for the last week of 2013 on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Jonathan J. Cooper, File)
January 02, 2014 - 5:33 AM

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dipped 2,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, evidence that layoffs are low and hiring will likely remain steady.

The Labor Department says the less volatile four-week average rose 8,500 to 357,250. The average was driven up in recent weeks by spikes that reflected seasonal volatility around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The government struggles to account for seasonal hiring by retailers and other businesses and for temporary layoffs of school employees during the holidays.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. They appear to have stabilized near the pre-recession levels reached in the late summer and are at a level consistent with solid hiring.

The unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 7 per cent in November.

News from © The Associated Press, 2014
The Associated Press

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