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Initial jobless claims drop sharply to 334,000, near five-year low
Initial jobless claims drop sharply to 334,000, near five-year low

WASHINGTON -- Initial jobless claims dropped sharply last week to 334,000, close to a five-year low, the Labor Department said Thursday. The number of people filing for first-time unemployment benefits was down 24,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 358,000. Analysts had expected a reading of 345,000. The closely watched barometer of the labor market has been on a downward trend this year, reflecting a strengthening labor market. But the figures, although they are seasonally adjusted, have been volatile in recent weeks as auto factories begin their annual summer shutdowns for retooling. QUIZ: How much do you know about the federal budget cuts? The claims number jumped...

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