01/17/2013 08:35 am ET Updated Jan 17, 2013

Unemployment Claims Drop, Rupert Murdoch's Tweet, And N.C.'s Looming Safety Net Cuts

-- Way fewer people lost their jobs and applied for unemployment insurance last week. "In the week ending January 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 335,000, a decrease of 37,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 372,000," the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday morning. That's the lowest number since January 2008.

-- Because the story of a New York woman injured after a city sidewalk collapsed beneath her must somehow validate one's own personal politics, Rupert Murdoch had this to say on Twitter Wednesday: "How did fat lady who fell thru street get to 400 lbs? Welfare, stamps, etc? Then leave us all with 20yrs immense health bills."

Murdoch's New York Post reported that the woman is a social worker, and also that the adjacent building's owner had received many citations from the city, "including a 2011 complaint that the facade was coming loose."

Murdoch followed up: "Did not mean to be unsympathetic to 400 lb lady, but fact remains unhealthy eating by rich and poor driving up premiums for all."

-- The North Carolina legislature is mulling unemployment insurance cuts in order to pay back $2.6 billion it borrowed from the federal government. Lawmakers are eyeing fewer weeks of benefits and less money per week. How does a state wind up owing the feds billions for unemployment insurance? By cutting business taxes too much, contrary to the Labor Department's financing guidelines for state unemployment trust funds.