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Economic Report: Jobless claims drop 10,000 to 258,000

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A steady drumbeat of hiring that’s reduced the unemployment rate to a nine-year low is keeping layoffs near the lowest level since the 1970s.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in early December fell by 10,000 to 258,000, keeping the pace of layoffs near the lowest level in more than 40 years as the holiday season got underway.

The level of claims matched Wall Street estimates. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast initial claims to drop to a seasonally adjusted 258,000 in the week running from Nov. 27 to Dec. 3.

New claims had hit a five-month high the week before, though they often swing up and down during the holiday season that stretches from Thanksgiving to early January.

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