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With the more closely watched monthly jobs report looming, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing a modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended July 31st.

The report said initial jobless claims slipped to 385,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 399,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 384,000 from the 400,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also edged down to 394,000, a decrease of 250 from the previous week’s revised average of 394,250.


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