Drop in Jobless Claims Shows U.S. Employers Are Upbeat: Economy

New York (Mar 6)  Fewer Americans than projected applied last week for unemployment benefits, showing companies are confident economic growth will rebound after winter weather depressed demand.

Jobless claims declined by 26,000 to 323,000 in the week ended March 1, the least since the end of November and fewer than any economist forecast in a Bloomberg survey, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. Other data showed consumers’ views of the economy reached an almost seven-month high, according to Bloomberg’s weekly index of sentiment.

Falling dismissals set the stage for additional hiring, helping spur household confidence and giving Americans the wherewithal to boost spending. A report tomorrow may show the number of workers that companies added in February lagged behind last year’s average after a weather-induced slowdown in housing starts and retail sales.