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US unemployment claims fall to lowest level of COVID-19 pandemic

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WASHINGTON - The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level since the pandemic began, a sign the job market is still improving even as hiring has slowed in the past two months.Unemployment claims dropped 36,000 to 293,000 last week, the second straight drop, the Labor Department said Thursday.

That's the smallest number of people to apply for benefits since the week of March 14, 2020, when the pandemic intensified, and the first time claims have dipped below 300,000.

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