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Financial News Network
March 03, 2011 AT 3:23 PM
The Labor Department reported Thursday that initial U.S. jobless claims fell by 20,000 to 368,000, the lowest level since May 2008, in the week of February 26th.Economists on average had expected first-time claims to reach 395,000, up from last week's guided level of 388,000. Claims averaged 388,500 over the past four weeks, the lowest one month average since July 2008.The 27% decline in claims since August 2010 shows a pattern of modest hiring but fewer layoff.Continuing claims have also fallen, declining 59,000 to 3.77 million in the week of Feb. 19.