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US unemployment claims drop to lowest level since April

Claims for unemployment benefits have dropped to their lowest level since April, the Labor Department said Thursday.

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People looking for jobs wait in line to speak with potential employers at the Brooklyn Job Fair on April 13, 2011 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Thousands attended the event which featured nearly 80 employers in a variety of professions. (Spencer Platt/AFP/Getty Images)

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell for the second consecutive week, taking it to its lowest level since April, the Associated Press reported.

Applications fell by 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 390,000, the Labor Department said.

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The four-week average was also down at 400,000, which is also its lowest point since April.

According to the AP, the states with the biggest decreases in jobless claims were California, New York and North Carolina, while Michigan and Wisconsin showed the biggest increases.

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The figures are a sign that fewer workers are being laid off, the AP said, but they do not yet indicate sustained job growth.

Only an application rate consistently below 375,000 - not seen since February - would be evidence of steady job gains.

Jobless claims remain well above pre-recession levels, said Reuters. The weekly figure has been 400,000 or higher for all but 10 weeks of the past year.

The US unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent last month, despite a slow-down in hiring.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/111110/us-unemployment-claims-drop-lowest-level-april