News Summary: US Jobless Aid Applications Sink

By The Associated Press

LOOKING FOR HELP: The number of Americans applying for unemployment assistance plummeted to a five-year low last week, a sign that the job market may be improving. Applications are a proxy for layoffs.

BIG DROP: Weekly unemployment benefit applications tracked by the Labor Department fell 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 335,000. That is the lowest level since January 2008, just after the recession began.

HARD TO READ: The applications data can be uneven in January. Job cuts typically spike in the second week of the month as companies lay off temporary workers hired for the winter holidays. The broader trend will become clearer in the coming weeks.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More from Opinion

Red Hat CFO Tells TheStreet: Tech Trends Are Still in Our Favor

Red Hat CFO Tells TheStreet: Tech Trends Are Still in Our Favor

Throwback Thursday: Intel Edition

Throwback Thursday: Intel Edition

Intel's Next CEO Should Try Harder to Protect Its Flanks Against AMD and Others

Intel's Next CEO Should Try Harder to Protect Its Flanks Against AMD and Others

3 Warren Buffett Stock Picks That Could Be Perfect for Your Retirement Portfolio

3 Warren Buffett Stock Picks That Could Be Perfect for Your Retirement Portfolio

Wednesday Wrap-Up: GE and Facebook

Wednesday Wrap-Up: GE and Facebook