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Weekly U.S. jobless claims drop to 409,000

Weekly U.S. jobless claims drop to 409,000 (by Jeffry Bartash)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The number of jobless U.S. workers who filed new applications for unemployment benefits fell to 409,000 last week from an upwardly revised 438,000 in the prior week, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to decline to a seasonally adjusted 424,000. The average of new claims over the past four weeks, meanwhile, climbed 1,250 to 439,000, remaining at the highest level since November. The four-week average is considered a more accurate gauge of employment trends because it lessens week-to-week volatility in the data. Also, the number of people who continue to receive unemployment checks fell by 81,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.71 million in the week of May 7. The total number of people receiving some kind of state or federal benefit, which is reported with a two-week lag, dropped 47,124 to 7.94 million in the week of April 30.