Jobless claims fall in U.S., bolster recovery hopes

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 17,000 to a seasonally adjusted 421,000
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 12/22/2010

(Reuters) —New claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week in the United States and the four-week moving average slipped to a fresh two-year low, reviving hopes a labor market recovery was under way.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 17,000 to a seasonally adjusted 421,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday, below economists' expectations for 425,000.

"It's another report that suggests the monthly employment numbers that we got last week probably understated the position in jobs, and it's another number that suggests we're going to get some upside surprises in economic activity," said Michael Strauss, chief economist at Commonfund in Wilton, Connecticut.