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US Jobless Benefit Claims Reach Six-Year Low

  • VOA News

FILE - Shoppers walk past a now hiring sign at a Ross store in North Miami Beach, Florida, May 16, 2014.
The number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits has fallen to the lowest level in more than six years.

The U.S. Labor Department said Thursday that 312,000 jobless workers made first-time claims for compensation last week, down 6,000 from the week before.

That left about 2.5 million Americans collecting unemployment compensation. That's the lowest figure since October 2007, which is two months before the country's steep recession began.

The chair of the country's central bank, Janet Yellen of the Federal Reserve, said Wednesday that the U.S. economy is advancing again after faltering during a harsh winter earlier in 2014. She said the bank's policy makers expect the world's largest economy will advance even faster in the next two years.

The U.S. labor market has picked up recently, adding an average of more than 200,000 jobs a month the last four months, the first such stretch of robust hiring since the late 1990s.