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Applications For Unemployment Benefits Tick Up; Monthly Average At 5-Year Low

There were 336,000 first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, up 2,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

The big news here is that the 4-week moving average was 339,750, a drop from of 7,5000 from last week and the lowest level in 5 years.

Bloomberg reports:

"'We've been surprised over the last few weeks as claims have continued to fall,' Sean Incremona, senior economist at 4Cast Inc. in New York, said before the report. Incremona projected 335,000 initial claims. 'There is definitely progress in the labor market, though mostly through a reduction in layoffs.'

"Estimates for first-time claims ranged from 325,000 to 352,000 in the Bloomberg survey of 47 economists. The prior week's applications were revised to a seven-week low of 334,000 after an initially reported 332,000."

Update at 9:21 a.m. ET. Manufacturing Is Up:

The AP reports:

"U.S. manufacturing growth quickened in March and the pace of hiring increased, suggesting the sector will contribute to stronger overall U.S. growth in the first quarter, an industry survey showed on Thursday. ...

"Manufacturers stepped up hiring this month, driving the employment sub-index to 54.6 from 53.5 and rounding out the best three-month stretch for hiring in the sector since early last year, according to Markit chief economist Chris Williamson."

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Verdine White On 45 Years With Earth, Wind & Fire

Forty-five years ago, the band “Earth, Wind and Fire” introduced audiences to a new kind of funk--one that fused soul, jazz, Latin and pop. Bassist Verdine White talks to guest host Derek McGinty about breaking racial boundaries in music and how the band is still evolving.

NPR

If War Is Hell, Then Coffee Has Offered U.S. Soldiers Some Salvation

"Nobody can soldier without coffee," a Union cavalryman wrote in 1865. Hidden Kitchens looks at three American wars through the lens of coffee: the Civil War, Vietnam and Afghanistan.
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What's Ahead At The Democratic National Convention

The Democratic National Convention gets underway in Philadelphia, where Hillary Clinton will accept the presidential nomination.

NPR

What Verizon Will Get When It Buys Yahoo

Verizon is announcing a deal to buy Yahoo's Internet business on Monday. The telecom giant is eyeing Yahoo's content — and more opportunities to sell ads on it.

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