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News Summary: Fewer Americans seek jobless aid

The Associated Press

LAYOFFS DROP: The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits remained near the lowest level in more than five years last week, a sign companies are cutting fewer jobs. Weekly applications for benefits fell 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 331,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

FIVE-YEAR LOW: The four week average, a less volatile measure, inched up 750 to 331,250 after falling to its lowest level since November 2007 the previous week.

FIRING DOWN, HIRING STILL SLUGGISH: Though employers are cutting few jobs, most have yet to start hiring aggressively. Fewer layoffs can increase net job gains, even if hiring doesn't rise much.