According to new reports, the number of applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell again last week, leading to a one-month low. There were 440,000 claims during the week that ended on February 6th, which represented a 43,000 decrease from the week prior. The total number of people receiving extended benefits also decreased, according to the Labor Department. Economists point to these numbers as a sign that companies are firing fewer workers, and that business recovery is starting to take place.
The fastest pace of growth in six years last quarter means the economy may be poised to add jobs as companies restock shelves to keep pace with increased sales. The Obama administration today projected payrolls will grow by 95,000 a month on average this year, indicating it will take a long time to recover the 8.4 million jobs lost since the recession began.
“Healing is under way, but this process will take time,” said Raymond Stone, managing director of Stone & McCarthy Research Associates in Skillman, New Jersey, who correctly forecast the drop in claims. “We are moving in the right direction and I think we will see some job growth” in coming months.
Stocks fluctuated between gains and losses as disappointment that European leaders didn’t provide specific solutions to solve the Greece’s debt crisis offset the drop in claims. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.4 percent to 1,071.82 at 11:36 a.m. in New York. Treasury securities fell.