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U.S. Initial Unemployment Claims Fell Last Week

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WASHINGTON (6/14/13)--Initial claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. declined last week, moving close to the lowest level in five years, the Labor Department announced Thursday.

Claims fell 12,000--to a seasonally adjusted 334,000--an indication of the U.S. labor market's resilience and steady progress in the market as well (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Moody's Economy.com June 13).

The four-week moving average, which evens out the data's weekly volatility, declined 7,250--to 342,250.

Rising confidence in the recovery of the U.S. economy has induced American employers to depart from an extended cycle of elevated layoffs, the Times said.

Although the federal government's more stringent austerity measures this year do not appear to have increased layoffs, companies have been reluctant to accelerate hiring, and the U.S. unemployment rate is anticipated to finish the year above 7%, the Times added.

The weekly unemployment data suggest the U.S. economy will progress at a slow, steady pace in adding jobs, the Journal said.