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Applications for unemployment benefits slipped last week

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First-time claims for USA unemployment benefits unexpectedly edged lower in the week ended September 3rd, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits decreased 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 259,000 for the week ended September 3, the lowest level since mid-July, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

More broadly, jobless claims touched a four-decade low in April and have hovered modestly above the level for most of the spring and summer. This represents a decrease of 4,000 from the prior week's 263,000 reading.

This release is the 79 consecutive figure that stands below the value of 300,000, a direct outcome of the healthy condition of the labor market, this is the longest streak since 1970, when the United States had a considerably smaller labor market. Analysts had expected continuing claims to inch up to 2.153 million.

As usual, the Labor Department said that no special factors had an impact on this week's initial claims.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 265,000 reading in the week stretching from August 28 to Sept 3. The data was better than the analyst consensus estimate of 265,000 new claims, according to a Thomson Reuters survey.

The four-week moving average for claims now sits at 261,250, down from last weeks' 263,000.

With the labor market near full employment and the economy's recovery from the 2007-09 recession showing signs of aging, the slowdown in job growth is normal.

The labor department reported Wednesday that job openings are up, but hiring isn't keeping up - this could indicate employers are struggling to find qualified workers.

While the jobless claims remained very low this year, the pace of job growth is slowing.In August, the economy created 151,000 jobs compared with more than 270,000 in each of the previous two months.

Continuing jobless claims, which reflect people already receiving unemployment checks, dipped 7,000 to 2.14m in the week ended 27 August. Get twice-daily updates on what the St. Louis business community is talking about.

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