Jobless Claims Drop 15,000

372,000 total in latest week is lowest in more than three years.

Fewer Americans filed claims for unemployment insurance payments last week, showing the labor market is starting 2012 on better footing than a year earlier.

Applications for jobless benefits decreased 15,000 in the week ended Dec. 31 to 372,000, Labor Department figures showed today. The median estimate of 38 economists in a Bloomberg News survey forecast 375,000 claims. The average over the past four weeks declined to the lowest level in more than three years.

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