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Initial jobless claims near a five-year low

Claims have dropped to 334,000, the lowest level in four months and a possible good omen for hiring in July.

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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. (Joe Raedle/AFP/Getty Images)

Initial jobless claims in the US have dropped to 334,000 this week from 358,000, a 24,000 decrease that is close to a five-year low recorded near the end of April. 

Department of Labor figures also found that the four-week moving average — a less volatile figure — stood at 346,000, which was a decrease of 5,250 from last week's decreased average of 351,250.

More from GlobalPost: Number of Americans seeking jobless benefits falls

A total of 4,519,501 people claimed job benefits in all programs for the ending on June 29th, according to the data, down by 1,903 the week before. A total of 5,753,820 people had claimed benefits during the same week in 2012. 

The beginning of July is considered a tricky time for assessing jobless claims, as traditionally, auto factories closed their facilities to retool during this time, writes CNN Money. 

"One must be wary during these months, given the typical annual auto plant shutdowns," said Jennifer Lee, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, to CNN. "Especially this year as many automakers have cut back or eliminated the closures completely."

The signs do indicate that the labor market continues to improve despite tax hikes and federal budget cuts — adding to the expectation that the Federal Reserve may begin tapering down its bond-buying stimulus program if unemployment and the larger economy continue to make improvements, writes the Los Angeles Times. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130718/initial-jobless-claims-near-five-year-low