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US jobless claims dip to four-year low

Further indication that firing is slowing a day after numbers showed consumer confidence, incomes ticking up.

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NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Job seekers attend a career fair in midtown Manhattan on February 6, 2012 in New York City. In further signs that the U.S. economy is recovering, the government reported Friday that 243,000 jobs were created last month. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.3% from 8.5%, its lowest level in three years (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) (Spencer Platt/AFP/Getty Images)

The number of Americans who applied for jobless benefits dropped by 2,000 last week, bringing the total to 351,000, a four year low, according to numbers released today by the Department of Labor.

More from GlobalPost: U.S. consumer confidence jumps dramatically in February

Stocks climbed slightly as investors reacted positively to the news.

The Associated Press reported, "Applications have fallen steadily since October. The average has declined 14.6 percent since then. When applications drop consistently below 375,000, it usually signals that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate."

More from GlobalPost: US adds 243,000 jobs in January, unemployment drops to 8.3%

A reduction in jobless claims shows that "firing is on a downward trend," according to Businessweek. A Moody's analyst told Businessweek, "“Businesses recognize that they don’t need to lay off any more people. Down the road, they’re going to realize they need to hire more people.”

The number of citizens on emergency unemployment benefits rose incrementally to 2.9 million on February 11, when a total of 7.5 million Americans claimed unemployment, according to Reuters.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120301/us-jobless-claims-fall-four-year-low