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U.S. Unemployment Claims Drop

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The number of Americans claiming new jobless benefits fell back to a four-year low last week, Reuters reported. The total number of individuals filing for unemployment dropped to a seasonally adjusted 351,000.

According to the news outlet, initial claims for State unemployment benefits dropped by 14,000 last week.

The four-week moving average for new claims, considered by some experts to be a better indicator of labor market trends, was unchanged at 355,750.

The Associated Press reported applications have leveled off in the past few weeks after falling for a period of six months. The average for the number of filings has dropped 14 percent since October 2011.

According to the news outlet, the steady decline has coincided with the top three months of hiring in the past two years. From December through February, employers have created an average of 245,000 jobs per month.

The AP reported that when the number of benefit applications drop below 375,000 for consecutive weeks, it usually is a signal that hiring is strong enough to lower the overall unemployment rate.

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