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(AP) - APPLICATIONS JUMP: The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose 32,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 360,000, the most since late March. Weekly applications are a proxy for layoffs.

TREND IS LOWER: The jump came after applications had fallen to a five-year low in recent weeks. And the four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose only slightly last week, to 339,250. That level is consistent with steady job gains.

VOLATILITY: The weekly applications figures can fluctuate widely and many economists focus on the four-week average. That has fallen almost 9 percent in the past six months.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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