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New U.S. jobless claims fall sharply

Jan. 17, 2013 at 8:53 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. Labor Department said first-time jobless benefits claims dropped to a pre-recession level in the week ending Saturday.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 37,000 in the week to 335,000, a weekly toll unseen since November 2007, just before the Great Recession became official.

The four-week rolling average for the week was 359,250, a decrease of 6,750 from the previous week's revised average of 366,000.

In the current week, the unadjusted advance number of first-time unemployment benefits claims under state programs totaled 555,708 for the week, an increase of 2,360 from the previous week, the Labor Department said.

For the comparable week of 2012, there were 525,422 initial claims.

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