Initial jobless claims drop to more than five-year low of 324,000

WASHINGTON — Initial jobless claims dropped last week to their lowest level in more than five years, countering recent signals that the economic recovery is slowing.

The number of people filing for the first time for unemployment benefits fell to 324,000 for the week ending Saturday, from a revised 342,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The last time weekly jobless claims were that low was in January 2008, as the Great Recession had just begun.

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