WASHINGTON — Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment benefits fell by 37,000 to 335,000 in the January 12 employment survey week, plunging to its lowest level in five years, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Forecasts in a MNI survey of economists had centered around a dip in jobless claims to 370,000. The initially reported 371,000 claims level for the Jan. 5 week was revised up to 372,000.

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