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U.S. unemployment benefit applications drop sharply

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The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week, another sign that the job market is slowly improving.

The Labor Department said applications dropped by 34,000, to 388,000, the lowest number since the week of July 12, 2008. The level of applications has either fallen or remained unchanged in five of the past six weeks.

Unemployment applications below 425,000 signal modest job growth. But economists say applications need to fall to 375,000 or below to indicate a significant decline in unemployment. Applications for unemployment benefits peaked during the recession at 651,000 in March 2009.

The level of applications can be particularly volatile during the holidays. But a department analyst said there were no unusual factors affecting the report.

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  • The news should stress this
    Obama has created more jobs in his two years than Bush did in his eight years. And, Bush was the cause of all the loss of jobs-he did exactly opposite of what was needed.

    Obama kept us out of the depression that we were headed for because of Bush.

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