U.S. jobless claims at a 5-year low - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

U.S. jobless claims at a 5-year low

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WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to the lowest level in five years, evidence that employers are cutting fewer jobs.

The Labor Department says weekly unemployment benefit applications dropped 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 330,000, the fewest since January 2008.  The four-week average is also the lowest in nearly five years.

The decline may reflect the government's difficulty adjusting its numbers to account for layoffs after the holiday shopping season.  Layoffs tend to spike in the second week of January, then plummet. The department seeks to adjust for those trends, however figures can still be volatile.

While layoffs are falling, hiring has been modest in recent months.

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