Jobless claims decline to 5-year low

From wire reports /

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments fell more than forecast last week to the lowest level in five years, pointing to further improvement in the labor market.

Applications for jobless benefits decreased by 37,000 to 335,000 in the week ended Jan. 12, the lowest level since the period ended Jan. 19, 2008, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

Oregon had the nation’s third-largest decline in applications with a decrease of 5,471. New York had the largest increase, up 37,189.

Economists forecast 369,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. A spokesman for the agency said the drop may reflect the difficulty the government has in adjusting the data after the holidays when seasonal workers are let go.