WASHINGTON - The government says the number of newly laid off workers signing up for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week. However, those continuing to draw aid climbed to the highest level since 1982.
The Labor Department reports that first-time applications filed for jobless benefits dropped by 94,000 to 492,000 for the week ending Dec. 27. The decline partly reflected seasonal adjustment difficulties related to the Christmas holiday and was a greater drop than analysts expected.
But the number of people continuing to draw claims climbed to 4.5 million, the most since early December 1982.