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US unemployment claims fall to lowest level since pandemic

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level since the pandemic began, a sign the job market is still improving even as hiring has slowed in the past two months.

Unemployment claims dropped 36,000 to 293,000, the second straight drop, the Labor Department said Thursday.

That’s the smallest number of people to apply for benefits since March 2020, when the pandemic intensified.