Posted by Paige Bresky --email
WASHINGTON D.C (AP) --- New requests for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week after rising in the past three weeks. Still, claims remain much higher than they would be in a healthy economy.
The Labor Department says new claims for jobless aid dropped by 31,000 to a seasonally adjusted 473,000. Wall Street economists had expected a smaller drop, according to surveys by Thomson Reuters.
The drop comes after a steep rise during the previous three weeks that sent claims to their highest level in nine months. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose to 486,750, the most since November 2009.