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US jobless claims hit five year low, but a bit of salt is required

The weekly look at US applications for unemployment benefits showed the lowest reading since January 2008, with claims falling to 330,000. As a rule of thumb, the market views anything under 400,000 as an indication that the economy is generating sustainable job growth.

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Still, take these numbers with something of a grain of salt. The weeks around the end of the year can wreak havoc with the government’s seasonal adjustment models. See the official BLS statement.

On the other hand, the surge in construction hiring in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy seems to be materializing in full force. (For the record, we told you this would happen months ago.) Among states, New York, which was one of those worst hit by the storm, posted the largest decline in jobless claims during the month with more than 27,000, which was attributed to “fewer layoffs in transportation, construction, and educational service industries.”

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