US jobless claims at nine-month low

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a nine-month low last week, the US Labour Department said yesterday.

Initial claims for benefits fell by 23,000 to 381,000, stoking hopes of a labour market recovery in the world's largest economy. Economists had expected a reduction to 395,000.

"It looks as if the US labour market does not know how to spell the word 'Euro-contagion'," Cary Leahey, an economist at Decision Economics, said, referring to concerns about the European crisis.