News Summary: US unemployment benefit claims fall

News Summary: Weekly US unemployment benefit applications fall to 346K, suggests job gains

Associated Press
News Summary: US unemployment benefit claims fall

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Job seekers line up to register to attend a job fair held in Atlanta, Thursday, May 30, 2013. The Labor Department reports on the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, Thursday June 27, 2013. (AP Photo/John Amis)

JOB CLAIMS DIP: The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 346,000 last week, evidence that the job market is still improving modestly.

LONGER VIEW: The four-week average, a less volatile figure, declined 2,750 to 345,750, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's near the five-year low of 338,000 that the average touched last month.

WHY IT MATTERS: Applications are a proxy for layoffs. Steady job gains could help the economy expand later this year. Growth was only 1.8 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter, down from a previous estimate of 2.4 percent.

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