National

Mar 4, 2010 11:01 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

New jobless claims last week: 469,000

New claims for jobless benefits fell last week in a sign that layoffs may be easing as the economy slowly recovers.

The Labor Department said that initial claims for unemployment insurance fell by 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 469,000. That nearly matches Wall Street analysts' estimates of 470,000. Still, the drop only partly reverses a sharp rise in claims in the previous two weeks.

Those increases had raised concerns that layoffs weren't slowing as quickly as many economists hoped. Those earlier increases also partly resulted from a backlog of claims that had built up in state agencies that closed during severe snowstorms last month. The number of people continuing to claim benefits, meanwhile, fell more than expected to 4.5 million.

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