The number of Americans filing for their first week of unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell for a second straight week last week, according to a government report released Thursday.
The number of initial claims fell to 420,000 in the week ending Dec. 11, down 3,000 from 423,000 claims filed the week before, the Labor Department said. It was the second lowest level of the year.
Economists surveyed by Briefing.com were expecting 425,000 new claims.Read more of CNNMoney.com's coverage on unemployment claims
The number of first-time filers for unemployment insurance fell more than expected last week, according to a weekly government report released Thursday.
There were 473,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Aug. 21, down 31,000 from an upwardly revised 504,000 the previous week, according to the Labor Department's weekly report.
Economists surveyed by Briefing.com were expecting new claims to fall to 485,000.
Claims had been stuck in the mid- to upper-400,000 range for about nine months, but spiked above 500,000 for the first time since November in last week's report.
The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance rose last week, according to a government report released Thursday.
There were 472,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended June 26, up 13,000 from an upwardly revised 459,000 in the previous week, the Labor Department said.
The number of claims was higher than expected. A consensus estimate of economists surveyed by Briefing.com expected 458,000 claims.
The number of people filing continuing claims jumped to 4,616,000 in the week ended June 19, the most recent data available. That was up 43,000 from the preceding week's upwardly revised 4,573,000 claims.
After months of speculation, President Obama finally named names on Thursday, saying who he plans to nominate to the Federal Reserve's board of governors.
Obama will nominate San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Janet Yellen to serve as vice chairman of the central bank, the White House said on Thursday.
And the two vacancies on the seven-member board would be filled by Sarah Raskin, the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation, and Peter Diamond, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Continental Airlines Inc. and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines are nearing a deal to consolidate into the world's largest airline, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The commercial carriers' boards of directors are expected to discuss the negotiations through the weekend and announce the merger on Monday, said the Journal. The union would allow the company to overtake Delta Air Lines, which merged with Northwest Airlines in 2008, as the world's biggest airline.
The deal could still fall through, as it did when the two airlines discussed combining in 2008 and Houston-based Continental backed out. But despite an earlier dispute on pricing, the Journal said discussions are still on track.
With unemployment still at a severe high, a majority of states have drained their jobless benefit funds, forcing them to borrow billions from the federal government to help out-of-work Americans.
A total of 33 states and the Virgin Islands have depleted their funds and borrowed more than $38.7 billion to provide a safety net, according to a report released Thursday by the National Employment Law Project. Four others are at the brink of insolvency.
Federal Reserve policymakers are worried that the economic recovery may lose steam going forward, despite recent moderate improvements, according to minutes from their recent policy meeting released Tuesday.
Though the latest data suggest an uptick in economic activity, Fed members believe that some sectors of the economy could stifle overall growth, the minutes from the March 16 meeting said.