Weekly jobless claims stay near 7-year low

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There were 304,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, up just 2,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 302,000, the Employment and Training Administration said Thursday.

The scant increase means claims continued to run near their lowest pace since May 2007 — seven months before the economy slipped into its latest recession. That downturn officially ended in June 2009, but job growth has remained relatively sluggish for much of the time since then.

According to Reuters, claims "rose less than expected ... offering further evidence of the economy's underlying strength."

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