Applications for unemployment benefits drop to 5 year low - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Applications for unemployment benefits drop to 5 year low

WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- The average number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level since March 2008.

Experts say it's a sign the job market is healing. The Labor Department says weekly applications dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000 in the week ending on December 22. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to a nearly five-year low of 356,750.

Still, the figures were disrupted by the Christmas holiday. A department spokesman said many state unemployment offices were closed Monday and Tuesday and unable to compile complete data. Fourteen states provided estimates and the department estimated the numbers for five additional states.

The government might estimate one or two states in a typical week, but 19 state estimates are unusually high.

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