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Hiring Outlook Brightens As Jobless Claims Fall

A steady decline in the number of people applying for weekly unemployment benefits is the latest signal that the economy has strengthened and businesses may be poised to step up hiring.

Applications fell last week fell to a seasonally adjusted 381,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the lowest level since late February.

And a four-week average for applications, which smooths week-to-week fluctuations, fell for the ninth time in 11 weeks to an eight-month low.