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The weekly report of how many people are filing for unemployment benefits has been something of a seesaw all month, and the day before the national unemployment rate comes out they're up by 8,000 to 365,000, which still beat economists' expectations. That follows a fall last week, a rise the week before, and a fall the week before that, thanks to seasonal fluctuations like temporary auto manufacturing layoffs. The four-week moving average, which is more stable than the weekly number, is also at 465,000, down 2,750 from the previous week's revised average of 368,250. Both Marketwatch and Reuters, however, polled economists who expected the weekly number to hit 370,000, and the fact that it fell short of that is a hopeful sign. So is the fact that both the weekly number and the four-week average are well below 375,000. As The Associated Press always likes to remind us, "when they consistently fall below 375,000, it suggests hiring is strong enough to pull the unemployment rate down." Cross your fingers for tomorrow.

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