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Applications for US unemployment benefits dip

By Christopher S. Rugaber

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, June 26 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

In this June 23, 2014 photo, job seekers and recruiters meet during a job fair in Philadelphia. The Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims on Thursday, June 26, 2014.

Matt Rourke, Associated Press

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WASHINGTON — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits declined last week, the latest evidence that a sharp economic slowdown earlier this year hasn't caused employers to cut jobs.

The Labor Department says weekly unemployment benefit applications fell 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 312,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose 2,000 to 314,000.

The average has fallen 9 percent since the beginning of this year. Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the declines indicate that companies are cutting fewer jobs.

The figures come a day after the government said the economy shrank at a 2.9 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, the worst reading since early 2009, when the U.S. was mired in the depths of the recession.