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Number of Americans seeking jobless benefits falls

The number of US workers seeking government unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 346,000, a sign of modest economic growth.

Unemployment april 2013Enlarge
People looking for work stand in line to apply for a job during a job fair at the Miami Dolphins Sun Life stadium on May 2, 2013 in Miami, Florida. Unemployment dropped to a 4-year low in April, according to new stats. (Joe Raedle/AFP/Getty Images)

Economic indicators released Thursday pointed to signs of moderate growth in the beleaguered United States economy.

May saw an uptick of 0.3 percent in consumer spending in the United States, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That figure follows a revised 0.3 percent drop in April, which was previously reported to have declined 0.2 percent.

Consumer spending amounts to 70 percent of economic activity in the US. Reuters noted that while the pace has slowed since the first part of 2013, it is still likely to drive growth.

Commerce Dept. figures also showed that income grew by 0.5 percent in May.

Applications for unemployment benefits from workers fell by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 346,000 in the week ending on June 22.

Meanwhile, the four-week average of unemployment figures fell by 2,750 to 345,750, according to Labor Department figures — near the five-year-low of 338,000 that was reached in May.

Read more from GlobalPost: US first quarter economic growth weaker than expected

It's hoped that employers will begin to take to hiring again on the heels of the news, wrote Bloomberg.

"The broad trend still remains lower” for jobless claims, Jacob Oubina, senior economist at RBC Capital Markets LLC, told Bloomberg. “That’s going to continue to support net payroll gains.”

May saw employers add 175,000 new jobs to payrolls, noted Reuters. For comparison, job gains have averaged about 172,000 in the past year.

The unemployment rate stood at 7.6 percent in May, according to the Labor Department. 

The latest figures follow a Wednesday report which said US economic growth was slower than expected in the first quarter, with a projected annual growth of only 1.8 percent, as well as a sluggish 2.6 percent growth in consumer spending.

It's hoped that consumer spending will increase as America adjusts to new taxes and federal spending cuts, which were implemented earlier in 2013. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130627/number-americans-seeking-jobless-benefits-falls