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Four-week average of unemployment claims lowest since 2006

Four-week average of unemployment claims lowest since 2006
Jean Meryot, 38, of Miami waits to be interviewed during a job fair at the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach on Monday. (Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press)

Average weekly unemployment claims over the last month hit an eight-year low, the government reported, in another positive sign for the labor market recovery.

The number of people filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits held roughly steady at 287,000 for the week ended Saturday, the Labor Department said Thursday.

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That was down 1,000 from the previous week's revised figure.

Economists had expected a rise in claims to 293,000.

The less volatile four-week average dropped to 287,750 last week. That was the lowest level since February 2006, the Labor Department said.

The overall number of people receiving unemployment benefits also has been falling and hit a new post-Great Recession low in the week ended Sept. 27, the most recent data available.

There were 2.38 million people getting unemployment checks that week, down 21,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday.

It was the lowest level since May 2006.

The declining jobless claims are in line with other data showing the labor market continues to improve.

Last week, the government reported that job growth rebounded strongly in September to a net gain of 282,000 and the unemployment rate fell to 5.9%, the lowest since July 2008.

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