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Unemployment claims signal job gains are near

Easing of layoffs may bring growth

WASHINGTON — A government report Thursday on claims for unemployment aid signaled that layoffs are easing and that the economy could be on the verge of posting the first monthly gain in jobs in two years.

The number of people claiming first-time unemployment benefits barely rose last week, the Labor Department said, after falling to its lowest level since July 2008 the previous week.

And the four-week average of claims fell for the 18th straight week — to its lowest point since September 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed.

The four-week average of first-time claims is nearing the roughly 425,000 that many economists say would be a sign the economy will start creating jobs.

The Labor Department will issue a more comprehensive snapshot of the job market today.

Unemployment claims signal job gains are near 01/07/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 7, 2010 11:06pm]

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