Weekly jobless claims plunge to 42,000

By Associated Press
Posted Feb. 3 at 7:52 a.m.

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits plunged last week, following a week where bad weather contributed to a spike in applications.

The Labor Department says the number of people seeking benefits dropped by 42,000 to a seasonally adjusted 415,000 in the week ending Jan. 29. Applications had surged in the previous week after snow storms in the South disrupted work and led to temporary layoffs.

Applications are well below their peak of 651,000, reached in March 2009, when the economy was deep in recession. Fewer than 425,000 people applying for benefits is consistent with modest job growth. But applications will need to fall consistently below 375,000 to signal a likely decline in the unemployment rate.

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