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Jobless Claims Fell Sharply Last Week, Wholesale Prices Dropped In November

Posted: December 13, 2012

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The pace of applications for unemployment insurance had accelerated after Superstorm Sandy, which threw many out of work. Now, the trend is back to a rate that signals a slowly improving labor market.

At a job fair in New York City earlier this year, a man waited for an interview. Economists say the job market is slowly improving, and the latest data on jobless claims seem to support that analysis.

At a job fair in New York City earlier this year, a man waited for an interview. Economists say the job market is slowly improving, and the latest data on jobless claims seem to support that analysis. Spencer Platt

There were 343,000 first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, down 29,000 from the week before, according to the Employment and Training Administration.

At that level, claims were the lowest they'd been since the first week of October's 342,000.

According to Bloomberg News, last week's number adds to "evidence the labor market is improving." It was well below what economists expected: 369,000. And, Bloomberg adds:

"Jobless claims have dropped 108,000 in the latest four weeks after a Superstorm Sandy-related surge, indicating companies are comfortable with current staffing levels."

The morning's other economic news: Wholesale prices fell 0.8 percent in November from October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. The major reason for the decline was a 4.6 percent drop in energy prices, which in turn was fueled by a 10.1 percent plunge in gasoline costs.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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