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US jobless claims fall to 7-year low

New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits fell to a post-recession seven-year low last week, the Labour Department said on Thursday.

WASHINGTON: New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits fell to a post-recession seven-year low last week, the Labour Department said on Thursday.

Initial jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, totalled 297,000 in the week ending May 10, compared with a revised 321,000 in the prior week.

Last week's claims number -- below 300,000 for the first time in the economic recovery -- was the lowest level since May 12, 2007.

The four-week moving average fell by 2,000 to 323,250, well below the year-ago level of 340,500.

"Claims capture only the firing side of the payroll story so this decline does not guarantee better jobs numbers, but it makes them much more likely," said Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics.

The US economy added 288,000 jobs in April, the strongest job growth in more than two years.

The unemployment rate's fall to 6.3 per cent, the lowest level in nearly six years, stemmed from a sharply shrinking labour force

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