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Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, evidence that layoffs are slowing
WASHINGTON (AP) ' Fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week, an encouraging sign the job market may be slowly improving.
The Labor Department says that weekly applications dropped 22,000 to a seasonally adjusted 405,000, the lowest level in almost three months.
The government says the total was increased by 11,500 state workers from Minnesota, who have filed applications because of that state's government shutdown.
Even with last week's decline, applications have now topped 400,000 for 14 weeks, evidence that the job market has weakened since earlier this year.
Applications had fallen in February to 375,000, a level that signals healthy job growth. They stayed below 400,000 for two months, then surged to an eight-month high of 478,000 in April and have declined slowly since then.