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Unemployment Aid Applications Up, But Overall Trend Suggests Increased Hiring

More people applied for unemployment benefits last week, but not enough to reverse a downward trend that suggests employers will accelerate hiring in the coming months.

Applications remain slightly above the lowest level in two years and the four-week average of applications, a less-volatile measure, dropped last week for the eighth time in nine weeks.

The Labor Department said Thursday that applications rose by 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 409,000 in the week ending Jan. 1. They fell to 391,000 in the previous week, the lowest point since July 2008.

"It does look like the economy is gaining momentum, and the labor market, which has been the recovery's caboose, is starting to catch up."

Zach Pandl, economist

This program aired on January 6, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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