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Weekly jobless claims decline 22,000 to 391,000

Weekly jobless claims decline 22,000 to 391,000 (by Jeffry Bartash)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits declined last week by 22,000 to 391,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected initial claims in the week ended Feb. 19 to drop to a seasonally adjusted 405,000 from a revised 413,000 the week before. In addition, the four-week average fell to a more than two-year low, down 16,500 at 402,000. Continuing claims, which reflect the number of people already receiving state unemployment compensation, dropped 145,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.79 million in the week of Feb. 12. About 9.16 million Americans were getting some kind of state or federal benefit in the week ended Feb. 5, down 89,782 from the prior week.