Dec. 27 - New jobless claims fall to 350,000, could signal pickup in hiring. Jeanne Yurman reports.
The Daily Digit today is 350,000. This is the number of Americans who applied for first-time jobless benefits last week, on seasonally adjusted basis. It is the lowest level since the early days of the 2007 to 2009 recession, and a possible sign that employers have picked up the pace of hiring. But many analysts are cautious. Gary Townsend, president and CEO of Hill-Townsend Capital. SOUNDBITE: GARY TOWNSEND, PRESIDENT AND CEO, HILL-TOWNSEND CAPITAL, (ENGLISH) SAYING; "I am not sure that dealing with week-to-week numbers really are too helpful. We know that unemployment has come down, but the participation rate remains very, very poor and continues to slip. And we have about 14 to 15% of the population underemployed, which does not serve the economy particularly well." Looking beyond the weekly report, the closely watched four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility, also fell to levels not seen in over four and a half years. While the data points to recovery--one caveat: Monday was a federal holiday, so figures were estimated for 19 states with their government offices closed. That means this week's numbers could see revisions up or down.