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jobless claims, a measure of layoffs, decreased by 27,000 to a seasonally
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast 360,000 new applications for jobless benefits last week. Claims for the prior week were revised up to 368,000 from an initial estimate of 366,000
The four-week moving average of claims, which smoothes out week-to-week volatility, advanced by 1,500 to 352,500. Despite the slight rise last week, the average level remained near a five-year low.
Department analyst said figures were estimated for
The number of new claims has fallen in four of the past five weeks. The downward trend points to slow but steady job growth. Hiring typically picks up when layoffs decline.
Earlier this month, the Labor Department said employers added 157,000 jobs in January, and revised data showed job growth in 2012 was better than first reported.
unemployment rate, obtained by a separate survey of
claims report showed the number of continuing unemployment benefit claims--those
drawn by workers for more than a week--decreased by 130,000 to
The number of workers requesting unemployment insurance was equivalent to 2.4% of employed workers paying into the system in the week ended Feb. 2, down from 2.5% the prior week.
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