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Jobless Claims Continue Hot Streak, Hit Five-Month Low

Unemployment benefits claims dropped 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 259,000 for the week ending March 5—the lowest level since October, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Claims have now been below the 300,000 mark for a year—the longest stretch since the '70s. "The labor market continues to be the light shining through the foggy state of the global economy," Jim Baird, chief investment officer at Michigan-based Plante Moran Financial Advisors, tells Reuters.

The job market remains stable, with non-farm payrolls increasing by 242,000 jobs in February and the 4.9% unemployment rate holding at an eight-year low.

The four-week average of claims—regarded by many as the best measure of the labor market—fell to 267,500 last week, the lowest level since late October. Jobless claims were being watched closely after global economic turmoil had many—including industry bigwigsfearing a recession

However, the chief economist at RDQ Economics, John Ryding, says these numbers show no signs of "slackening growth in response to market volatility and developments abroad." [Reuters]