Jobless Claims Hit Four-Year Low

A new Labor Department report shows that applications for unemployment benefits have fallen to the lowest point in nearly four years as companies lay off fewer workers and hiring picks up. The economy added 243,000 jobs in January, driving the unemployment rate down to 8.3 percent. The data comes from a four-week measurement that indicated a continued decline in applications for benefits, which have fallen by 13 percent over the last year to 365,250. Other promising news came from the construction and manufacturing industries, with applications for building permits up and a new study showing that mid-Atlantic factories are seeing expanded activity.