Story via The NY Times.
The number of people seeking unemployment benefits for the first time plummeted last week to 352,000, the fewest since April 2008, the Labor Department said Thursday. The decline added to evidence that the job market is strengthening.
Weekly applications fell by 50,000, the biggest drop in the seasonally adjusted figure in more than six years. The four-week average, which smooths out fluctuations, dropped to 379,000. That was the second-lowest such figure in more than three years.
When weekly applications fall consistently below 375,000, it usually signals that hiring is strong enough to push down the unemployment rate. A department spokesman cautioned, however, that volatility at this time of year is common.
Separately, the department said consumer prices were unchanged last month, the latest sign that inflation remains tame. Lower gasoline prices offset rising costs for food, medical care and housing.
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