US Job Market Improves

Posted February 16th, 2012 at 9:35 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. job market appears to be strengthening as the number of Americans signing up for unemployment assistance fell to a four-year low last week.

Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed the number of initial claims fell 13,000 to a nationwide total of 348,000.

Experts say the economy shifts from firing to hiring when jobless claims fall to about this level.

The unemployment rate, which comes from a different study, recently hit a three-year low of 8.3 percent.

Another upbeat economic report showed housing starts in January were 1.5 percent higher than the prior month.

A measure of future inflation rose a modest one-tenth of a percent, which is less than economists had predicted.