The number of Americans filing claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to the lowest level in more than five years, indicating companies are retaining staff even as the economy cools.
Applications for unemployment insurance payments fell 18,000 to 324,000 in the week ended April 27, the fewest since January 2008, a month after the last recession started, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists forecast 345,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. A Labor Department official said there was nothing unusual in the data.
The productivity of U.S. workers rose less than projected in the first quarter as the economy expanded, helping cool labor expenses, another Labor Department report today showed.