By Bill at March 03, 2011 09:02
Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 20,000 to 368,000 in the week ending Feb. 26, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That level of claims is the lowest since May 2008.
It was the third weekly reading of initial claims below 400,000 in the last month.
The total number of Americans drawing unemployment benefits also fell to a low in the latest report, dropping by 59,000 to 3.77 million.
The decline in initial claims appears to confirm an increase in hiring suggested by a separate report from payroll firm Automatic Data Processing Inc. ADP reports private employers added 217,000 new jobs in February, more than anticipated.
The initial claims report comes a day ahead of February jobs data on Friday from the U.S. Department of Labor. It is expected to report non-farm payrolls grew by 190,000 in February, with the unemployment rate rising to 9.1 percent in February from 9 percent in January.
As previously reported, North Carolina’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 9.8 percent in December from 9.7 percent in November.
Some 4.03 million North Carolinians were working in December, while 439,167 were unemployed.
The Triad’s major metropolitan areas finished last year with lower umemployment rates than in 2009, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.