Unemployment Claims Fall Slightly

    Job seekers stand in line at a job fair in Southfield, Mich., Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Michigan says the state's unemployment rate crept up to 10.3 percent in May, pushed higher by the loss of 8,000 government jobs and 3,000 in education and health services. The seasonally adjusted figures released Wednesday by the Department of Technology, Management and Budget show an increase of 0.1 percentage points since April. The national rate also rose, to 9.1 percent. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    Paul Sancya / AP Photo

    The jobs market got a bit of good news Thursday, when the Labor Department reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell by 3,000 last week, compared to two weeks ago. However, the four-week average of those benefit claims remained at a three-month high of 377,750. Economists generally think that a number below 375,000 is necessary to lower the unemployment rate, which was 8.1 percent in August. The economic malaise, with many leaving the labor force altogether, has kept hiring slow, even as businesses post many openings.

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