The weekly report of how many people are applying for unemployment benefits delivered good news on Thursday, plummeting 26,000 to a four-year low of 350,000. After two months of stagnant job growth, that number, which CNN describes as a "huge surprise" to economists, represents progress for the nation's employment situation. "Economists had been expecting 375,000 claims last week," CNN's Annalyn Censky wrote. The weekly jobless claims rate had been hovering above 375,000, and as The Associated Press likes to point out, when applications regularly fall below that number, "it generally suggests hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate." But the four-week moving average, a more stable number than the weekly report, is still at 376,000, "a decrease of 9,750 from the previous week's revised average of 386,250," per the Department of Labor. So Thursday's report, while positive, does not, by itself, indicate a sea change.
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