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Jobless Claims Fell Sharply Last Week

There were 346,000 first-time claims for unemployment benefits, down 42,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

Meanwhile, the "4-week moving average" of claims was 358,000, up by 3,000 from the previous week's 355,000. That measure smooths out some of the volatility in the numbers.

After recent reports that were disappointing — including last week's news that employers added only 88,000 jobs to their payrolls in March — Thursday's data on jobless claims were a positive switch.

Bloomberg News says the decline in claims was more than forecast and could be a sign that some things that tend to cause unusual swings in data, including holidays such as Easter, have worked their way through the numbers.

"The spike in claims was temporary," Brian Jones, a senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York, tells Bloomberg. "Claims will continue to come down. Things are getting better."

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NPR

In Iran, A Poet's 700-Year-Old Verses Still Set Hearts Aflame

The 14th century Persian poet Hafez remains venerated in Iran, even though he wrote of wine, romance and other topics not necessarily welcome in today's Islamic Republic.
NPR

Buy Crop Insurance, Double Your Money

The nation's crop insurance program is really a lottery, says one economist. And it's rigged so that farmers win. In fact, farmers typically get back double the money they pay for premiums.
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The Politics Hour - February 12, 2016

D.C. Council Member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) joins Kojo and Tom Sherwood to chat about her upcoming fight for re-election.

NPR

Do You Like Me? Swiping Leads To Spike In Online Dating For Young Adults

A study by the Pew Research Center finds the use of online dating sites has mushroomed in the past few years, particularly among 18- to 24-year-olds.

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