U.S. Unemployment Claims Slip but Hold at High Levels

New applications for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week, suggesting layoffs are easing as the broader economy flashes signs of improvement.

Initial claims for jobless benefits, a proxy for layoffs, declined to 709,000 last week from 757,000 a week earlier, the Labor Department said Thursday. While weekly claims have fallen from a peak of near 7 million at the end of March, they remain well above levels of about 200,000 seen before the coronavirus hit this spring.

The…

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