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US weekly jobless claims fall, point to better labour market

Published on Feb 20, 2014 10:29 PM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to steadily improving labour market conditions, despite two straight months of weak hiring.

Other data on Thursday showed relentlessly cold weather putting a strain on household budgets, with electricity and heating fuel prices surging in January. However, inflation pressures remained muted.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 336,000, the Labor Department said. That was mostly in line with economists' expectations.

The claims data covered the survey week for February's nonfarm payrolls report. Snow storms slammed parts of the country last week, which could have kept some workers at home.

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