U.S. jobless claims dropped sharply in the latest week, the Labor Department said May 19. The number of workers filing for state unemployment benefits for the first time fell 20,000 to 321,000 in the week ended May 14. The department could identify no special factors behind the decrease, which was larger than forecast. Economists were expecting only a drop in initial claims to about 331,000.
The four-week moving average of new claims rose by 5,500 to 329,750. Claims in the previous week were revised slightly higher, to a gain of 5,000 to 341,000, compared with the initial estimate of a gain of 4,000 to 340,000.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005