US Jobless Claims Hit 4-Year Low
The Los Angeles Times has more:
Faster economic growth is spurring the additional hiring. The economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the final three months of last year — a full percentage point higher than in the previous quarter.
Most economists expect growth to slow in the current quarter, because companies won't need to rebuild their stockpiles of goods as much as they did last winter.
But there are signs that the economy is still expanding at a healthy rate. Factory output got off to a robust start this year, and it ended 2011 with the fastest growth in five years, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.
However, some analysts caution against believing the "hype." Constantine von Hoffman, for CBS, warned against breaking out the “low-price champagne” just yet:
This week saw initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropping 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000, according to Labor Department, the lowest since March 2008. This just means fewer people are losing their jobs.
However, the number of people continuing to collect jobless benefits dropped by 100,000 last week to 3.43 million, the fewest since August 2008. The continuing claims figure doesn't include workers receiving extended benefits under federal programs. That number has also shrunk recently. As of Jan. 28, those collecting emergency and extended payments decreased by about 22,800 to 3.48 million. This is one reason the national unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent last month.