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US weekly jobless claims dive 36,000

Filed on January 20, 2006

WASHINGTON — US jobless claims fell 36,000 to a seasonally adjusted 271,000 in the week to January 14, their lowest level in almost six years, the Labour Department said yesterday.

The steep drop was unexpected, with Wall Street economists forecasting an increase to 315,000.

It was the lowest level for unemployment claims since the week ended April 15, 2000.

“Very large swings in seasonal employment during and after the holidays typify the job market at this time of the year,” Nomura US chief economist David Resler said.

“In addition, the unusually warm weather this month may be enabling builders and other weather-sensitive businesses to retain more of the workers they normally furlough in the winter,” he said.

“Nonetheless, potentially flawed seasonal adjustments do not explain away the rather steady trend toward lower jobless filings.”

The four-week average of new claims fell by 12,000 to 299,000 last week, the lowest since mid-October 2000.

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits also fell by a surprisingly large number over the week, by 158,000 to a seasonally adjusted 2.53 million.

That was the lowest level since the week ended February 24, 2001.

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