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Benefits claims falling

New jobless claims in the US fell to the lowest levels since July 2008 last week, according to the Labor Department. Claims for unemployment benefits stood at 388,000 in the week ending December 25, down 34,000 from the previous week and below 400,000 for the first time since 2008.

Economists had expected claims to fall, but only to 416,000.

Analysts said that the drop below 400,000 is remarkable and was not expected to occur for at least another month. But after a steady downward trend in claims over recent months, experts are optimistic that the jobs market has turned a corner.