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<!–:en–>INITIAL WEEKLY UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS CONTINUE TO DECLINE<!–:–>

March 24, 2012

The number of people seeking initial unemployment continues to decline. New claims for unemployment benefits fell again for the
week ending March 17th to 348,000, a new four-year low as the economic recovery continues to accelerate.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, went down to 355,000, a number last seen in 2008 prior to the last recession gearing up prior to the financial crash of September 2008. The chart below shows the four-week seasonally adjustment initial claims from January 2008 through March 17, 2012.

Applications for jobless benefits have steadily declines since the fall of 2011. The reductions coincide with the best three months in
hiring in the past two years. U.S. employers added an average of 245,000 new jobs from December 2011 through February 2012, with the unemployment rate dropping to 8.3%. Unemployment data for March is scheduled to be released on April 6.

New York and California showed the biggest improvements last week. Jobless claims dropped by 14,222 in New York and 4,696 in California because of fewer layoffs, according to the U.S. Labor Department.  03.24.2012