Jobs Outlook Brightens: Layoffs Drop Sharply

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The latest U.S. unemployment report shows layoffs are falling sharply -- yet another indication that the jobs picture is brightening.

Applications for jobless benefits, which are used to measure the pace of layoffs, dropped to 366,000 last week.

And the four-week average dropped for a tenth time in the past 12 weeks to just under 387,750, the lowest four-week average since July 2008.

"This is unexpectedly great news," Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, told The Wall Street Journal.

"If claims can remain at this level, payroll growth will strengthen markedly within a month or so," he predicted.

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