Jobless claims drop for first time in a month



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WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits has fallen for the first time in a month.

The Labor Department says weekly applications dropped by 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 307,000. Applications had spiked the previous week to a seven-month high.

Most of the volatility reflects widespread layoffs of temporary employees hired for the winter holidays.

The less volatile four-week average rose to 306,500, an increase of 6,500 from the previous week's average.

Applications have been near or below 300,000 since September, a historically low level that suggests companies are cutting few workers.

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The Associated Press

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