Jobless Claims Fall to 343,000

Lowest level of claims in nine weeks adds to evidence the labor market is improving.

First-time claims for unemployment insurance payments declined more than forecast last week to the lowest level since early October, adding to evidence the labor market is improving.

Applications for jobless benefits fell by 29,000 to 343,000 in the week ended Dec. 8, the fewest since reaching a four-year low in the period ended Oct. 6, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 369,000 claims, according to the Bloomberg survey median. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls declined for a fourth straight week.

Emergency Benefits

Those who’ve used up their traditional benefits and are now collecting emergency and extended payments increased by about 189,000 to 2.23 million in the week ended Nov. 27.

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