(Becket Adams) The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid plummeted last week to seasonally adjusted 339,000, the lowest level in more than four years, according to new data from the Labor Department.
The agency also said Thursday that weekly applications fell by 30,000 to the fewest since February 2008. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped by 11,500 to 364,000, a six-month low.
“Weekly applications are a proxy for layoffs. They can fluctuate sharply from week to week. If they stay near last week’s level, it would likely signal better hiring ahead,” the Associated Pressexplains.
“When applications consistently drop below 375,000, it suggests that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate,” the report adds.
Wait a minute, wait a minute: unemployment aid is at its lowest level since 2008? If you’re skeptical of today’s report (or, as some in the media might say, a government data “truther“), you’re not alone.
“This is just getting stupid,” the writers at Zero Hedge seethe. And they may have good reason to doubt the report.
As the Wall Street Journal notes:
… the report may not be as positive as the sharp drop indicates. A Labor Department economist said one large state didn’t report additional quarterly figures as expected, accounting for a substantial part of the decrease.