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WASHINGTON (AFP) – Fewer people filed new claims for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits last week as the job market slowly improves, government data released Thursday showed.

Initial jobless claims fell to 334,000 in the week ending July 13, a drop of 24,000 from the prior week’s slightly downwardly revised reading of 358,000.

Most analysts expected a smaller decline to 348,000.

Claims, a key indicator of the pace of layoffs, have been trending lower. Last week’s four-week moving average highlighted that decline, falling by 5,250 to 346,000.

A year ago, the average stood at 375,000.

The Federal Reserve, in its Beige Book report on Wednesday, said the economy has been growing at a “modest to moderate pace” but pointed to employer “reluctance” in some regions to hire permanent or full-time workers.

The Fed has made the reduction of high unemployment, which stood at 7.6 percent for the second month in a row in June, an overarching goal of its big stimulus program.

Photo Credit: AFP/Justin Sullivan

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Jason Miller

Screenshot from C-SPAN

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

If there's anything that right-wing chat platforms promising uncensored "free speech" like Gab and Parler have proven, it's that such predicates ensure the platforms will quickly be inundated with the worst people in the world—bigots spewing death threats, hatemongers, disinformation artists, conspiracy theorists, vile misogynists, and terrorists of all stripes. The kind of clients that will doom such networks to permanent deplatforming.

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