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U.S. Jobless Claims Drop

The Labor Department announced Thursday that fewer Americans than anticipated have filed unemployment benefit claims this month, potentially pointing to a less substantial unemployment population and maybe, just maybe, better economic growth in 2010. –JCL

Business Week:

Fewer Americans than anticipated filed claims for unemployment benefits last week, pointing to an improvement in the labor market that will help sustain economic growth next year.

Initial jobless claims fell by 22,000 to 432,000 in the week ended Dec. 26, the lowest level since July 2008, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The number of people collecting unemployment insurance fell in the prior week to 4.98 million, and those receiving extended benefits jumped.

Companies are retaining staff as sales improve and production picks up. Gains in consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy, may encourage more hiring in coming months, helping to bolster the rebound from the worst recession since the 1930s.

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