US growth cuts number of new jobless claims

THE NUMBER of new claims for US unemployment benefits dipped last week, as the American labour market continues to strengthen.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 330,000 in the week ending on

4 January, according to official statistics released yesterday. Economists had expected them to fall to just 335,000.

The figures are largely consistent with other labour market indicators that have painted an upbeat picture of the jobs market and the overall economy as the new year begins.

From employment to consumer spending and industrial production, the economy appears poised for sustained strong growth in 2014 after false starts in prior years.

The brightening outlook gave the Fed confidence last month to announce that it would reduce its monthly pace of bond purchases to $75bn (£45.57bn) from $85bn.

Separately, consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said planned layoffs at US firms plunged by 32 per cent in December to the lowest level since June 2000.