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U.S. unemployment aid applications stay at 370,000

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits was unchanged last week, suggesting steady gains in the job market.

The Labor Department says weekly unemployment aid applications were a seasonally adjusted 370,000, the same as the previous week. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 375,000.

Applications for benefits surged in April to a five-month high of 392,000. They have fallen since then and are near the lowest levels in four years.

The decline suggests hiring could pick up in May after slumping in the previous two months. When applications drop below 375,000 a week, it suggests the unemployment rate will fall.

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