New unemployment requests hit 3-year low - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New unemployment requests hit 3-year low


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people requesting unemployment benefits last week plunged to a nearly three-year low, bolstering the likelihood that companies will increase the pace of hiring this year.

Applications for unemployment benefits fell by 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 368,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.  It was the third decline in the past four weeks.  Applications are now at their lowest level since May 2008.  Unemployment benefit applications peaked during the recession at 651,000.

Brightening the outlook for more aggressive hiring, the manufacturing sector is growing at the fastest pace in nearly seven years.  And retailers are reporting solid gains for February after the best holiday shopping season since 2006.


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