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Nov 10, 2011 8:48 AM by Kate Richards

Application for unemployment aid drops

WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week fell to the lowest level since April, which suggests employers could be stepping up hiring.

The Labor Department says applications for unemployment benefits dropped to a seasonally adjusted 390,000, the third decline in four weeks. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 400,000, also the lowest point since April.

The downward trend in unemployment benefit applications suggests businesses are laying off fewer workers. Still, applications need to consistently drop below 375,000 to signal sustained job gains. They haven't been at that level since February.

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