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Washington Post: Slightly More Americans Sought Unemployment Aid Last Week, a Sign Hiring May Remain Modest
WASHINGTON — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose a slight 4,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 372,000, evidence that the job market’s recovery remains modest and uneven.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 3,750 to 368,000.
Applications are a measure of the pace of layoffs. When they fall consistently below 375,000, it generally suggests hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.
Applications have risen for two straight weeks. But they are still lower than they were five weeks ago. That suggests hiring could improve slightly this month.
The economy and job growth have been improving a bit after falling into a midyear slump, though neither is particularly strong.
One area of improvement has been the housing market, which is slowly but steadily recovering. Sales of previously occupied homes rose 2.3 percent in July from June, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. Sales jumped more than 10 percent in the past year.
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