Jobless claims plummet in US

Claims for unemployment benefit in the US fell to 383,000 in the week ending 5 February, it was revealed yesterday. The considerable drop (from 419,000 the previous week) surprised observers and was a two and a half year low – pointing to a firming undertone in the labour market as the economic recovery gathers momentum. Although the decline partially reflected the unwinding of a weather-related spike in late January, analysts said it was consistent with other indicators suggesting a strengthening jobs market.