Jobless Claims Show Unexpected Drop

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Washington (AP) The number of laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits showed an unexpected improvement last week although a key indicator of unemployment hit a four-year high.

The labor department reports that applications for unemployment benefits totaled 357,000 last week, a decline of 18,000 from the previous week. That pushed applications for benefits to their lowest level since mid-April.

However, the four-week average for people receiving benefits edged up to 3.086 million, the highest level since march 6, 2004, when the country was still struggling to recover from a prolonged period rising unemployment.