Unemployment benefit applications fall, sign of modest jobs rise

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 343,000 last week, a sign that employers are adding jobs at modest pace. The less volatile four-week average dipped 750 to 345,500, the Labor Department said Wednesday. Weekly applications for unemployment benefits are a proxy for layoffs. The four-week average has fallen 9 percent in the past year. Job growth has been stable. A separate report showed that companies stepped up hiring in June, a hopeful...

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