Unemployment Claims Suggest Hiring is Slower Than First Thought

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Following a series of positive economic indicators, reports of new filings for unemployment benefits point once again to a sluggish recovery.

The U.S. Labor Department reported this morning that while jobless claims fell by 2,000 to 386,000 in the week ending April 14, that number was higher than initially estimated. The claims figures raise a possibility that payroll gains that have helped push unemployment down may be cooling off.

According to the Labor Department, the number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits stands at approximately 3.3 million. Those who have used up their traditional benefits and are now collecting emergency and extended payments stands at 3.2 million. Millions more are still unemployed after exhausting all benefits, and have given up actively seeking work. The national number of underemployed is also in the millions.