After a month of steady increases, the initial weekly number of people applying for unemployment benefits finally fell again on Thursday, to 365,000 from 392,000, a decline of 27,000. It's a steep drop, but don't break out the champagne or anything because the four-week moving average, which is seen as a more steady number than the weekly figure, actually rose slightly to 383,500 from 382,750. On the plus side, The Associated Press notes that the decline was the largest in three months, and that when applications fall below 375,000, which they have, it "generally suggests that hiring will be strong enough to lower the unemployment rate." So hold the champagne and maybe open a Miller High Life (the champagne of beers, after all). It's got to be noon somewhere.
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