April 05. 2012 10:00AM - Last modified: April 05. 2012 10:37AM

National unemployment claims fall to 4-year low

The number of first-time unemployment claims in the United States fell to a four-year low last week, as employers continued to hire at a healthy pace.

Weekly applications dropped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 357,000, the U.S. Labor Department said today. That's the fewest since April 2008.
The economy generated an average of 245,000 jobs from December to February, the largest spate of hiring since the recession ended in 2009.
In Wisconsin, the number of initial claims for unemployment benefits fell to 10,498 last week from 10,987 in the previous week, according to the Department of Workforce Development.
Meanwhile, the number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms fell in March to the lowest level in 10 months as the government sector cut fewer jobs, while call center employees were let go by companies looking to reduce costs, according to a new report from consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Employers announced 37,880 job cuts last month, down 26.8 percent from 51,728 in February, according to the report. It was the lowest level since May 2011.