Oct 28, 2010 8:36 AM by Posted by Sharlee Barriere
WASHINGTON (AP) - Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, the second drop in a row and a hopeful sign the job market could be improving.
The Labor Department says initial claims for jobless benefits dropped by 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 434,000 in the week that ended Oct. 23. That's the smallest number of claims since early July. Wall Street analysts had expected a tiny increase.
Still, claims will have to keep falling to signal a widespread increase in hiring. Claims have fluctuated around 450,000 for most of this year, and have fallen below that level seven times. But they have always rebounded in subsequent weeks, and haven't remained below 450,000 for longer than two weeks.