WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Labor Department said Wednesday first-time jobless benefits claims fell by 12,000 in the week to nearly a 4 1/2-year low.
There were 350,000 first-time claims in the week, a drop from the previous week's revised figure of 362,000.
The four-week rolling average for the week was 356,750, a decrease of 11,250 from the previous week.
In the first week of October, first-time claims were lower by 8,000. Except for that week, first-time claims have been higher every week since May 2008, when 348,000 claims were filed in the first week of the month.
In the current week, the unadjusted advance number of first-time unemployment benefits claims under state programs totaled 440,887 for the week, an increase of 39,458 from the previous week, the Labor Department said.