News Summary: US unemployment benefit claims rise

News Summary: US weekly unemployment benefit claims up 7K to 343K; longer-term trend improves

Associated Press
US unemployment aid applications rise 7K to 343K
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Job seekers Antoinette Zinnerman, 39, left, with her daughter, Kennesha, 19, middle, inquire for positions at the 12th annual Mission career fair on Thursday, June 6, 2013 in the skid raw area of Los Angeles. At right, Akili Sanders, 38. The Labor Departmetn said Thursday, July 25, 2013 that ehe number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose by 7,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 343,000. The increase follows a drop of 22,000 the previous week. But the broader trend is consistent with an improving job market. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

BENEFIT CLAIMS UP: The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 343,000 for the week ending July 20. That follows a drop of 22,000 the previous week.

LONGER VIEW: Weekly applications data can be volatile. The four-week average, which smooths out weekly fluctuations, fell 1,250 to 345,250, according to the Labor Department. That is consistent with an improving job market.

THE OUTLOOK: Applications are a proxy for layoffs. They're down nearly 8 percent this year. Employers have added an average 202,000 new jobs a month this year, up from an average 183,000 in 2012.

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