Jobless Claims Fall to Four-Year Low

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Government data showed today that the number of Americans filing for initial jobless claims fell to a four-year low of 350,000 in the week ending July 7. It was the lowest number since March 2008 and was significantly better than analysts' forecasts for 372,000 applicants.

The U.S. Labor Department revised the previous week's jobless claims figure—a measure of layoffs—to 376,000 from a previously reported 374,000.

According to the Wall Street Journal, jobless claims have now fallen for three straight weeks. The more reliable four-week moving average of claims fell by 9,750 to 376,000, which was the lowest level since May.

But CNN noted that the data might have been distorted by the July 4 holiday and the fact that fewer factories than normal suspended operations for their retooling process, which usually happens in early July and results in temporary layoffs.