US applications for unemployment aid drop sharply
From The Associated Press
The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell last week by the most in nearly a year. The figure was a hopeful sign that hiring could pick up in coming months.
The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly unemployment benefit applications fell 27,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 365,000.
Applications are a measure of the pace of layoffs. When they fall below 375,000, it generally suggests that hiring will be strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.
Last month, applications jumped after steadily declining since the fall. At the same time, hiring slowed. Those figures sparked concerns that the job market was worsening after strong gains during the winter.
But some economists said temporary layoffs stemming from spring holidays might have inflated benefit applications. Some school employees, such as bus drivers and cafeteria workers, are temporarily laid off at that time and can apply for benefits.
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