Initial unemployment claims fall 13.5 percent in January, to 20,553

Initial unemployment claims continued to fall in January — the 35th year-over-year decrease in 38 months.The 20,553 new claims represented a 13.5 percent decrease from the 23,736 filed in January 2012, an Employment Security Division spokesman said. That’s the third-largest monthly drop in three years.“This decline combined with a 7 percent drop in December suggests there may be further room for unemployment claims to fall,” said Bill Anderson, a Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation economist. He said that is “an indication of growing stability in the labor market.”Nonetheless, Anderson said, the number of initial claims for unemployment benefits remains significantly higher than before the recession hit in 2007. From 2003-07, he said, there were fewer than 13,000 initial claims a month on average.But it also is much lower than the peak of 36,414 claims in December 2008.Claims should continue to decline during the next few months, given that they normally peak in December and January, then fall during spring and summer, Anderson said.


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