Jobless Claims Down Again

Unemployment claims by the newly laid-off fell to 420,000 last week, a decrease of 3,000 from the prior week’s figure, the department of labor reported today.

These are the lowest figures since July 2008.

However, for the week ended Nov. 27, the last week figures are available, there were still 4.2 million people claiming regular unemployment benefits and 3.8 million using extended benefits. With additional smaller unemployment programs, a total of 9.2 million Americans are still receiving government assistance for unemployment.

This is little surprise as according to the most recent employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6.3 million people have been out of work for 27 weeks or more.

However, the downward trend in claims has been seen as a good sign for at least some economists: “The data on jobless claims have been encouraging over the past several weeks, in line with our view that the labor market is improving,” analysts at JP Morgan wrote in a recent report. (h/t WSJ)

If just 20,000 fewer people per week lose their jobs, the economy may begin to recover, analysts suggest.