Weekly U.S. Jobless Aid Applications Little Changed

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

The number of people seeking unemployment aid changed little last week, signaling modest job growth.

The Labor Department says weekly unemployment benefit applications dipped by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 370,000.

Applications have leveled off in May after spiking in April to as high as 392,000 — a five month high. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, was also 370,000 last week.

The lower level suggests hiring could pick up a bit in May from April's sluggish pace. When applications drop below 375,000 a week, it typically suggests hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.

Economists forecast employers will add 160,000 jobs this month. That's above April's gains but below the pace set this winter.

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