New claims for U.S. jobless benefits took an unexpected drop last week as layoffs ease off and the employment market slowly recovers. The decline brought the four-week claims average to its lowest level since September 2008.
Zach Pandl, economist for Nomura Securities, said, "We´re on the cusp of a hiring recovery." First-time claims dropped by 14,000, most of the drop coming from an adjustment in calculations used to get an accurate picture of the market.
Such adjustments include filtering out expected changes such as the layoff of temps after the holidays. Excluding that adjustment, first-time claims dropped more than 30,000 last week, to 405,557. Claims have fallen three of the last four weeks.