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Washington (AFP) – New claims for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits fell last week following a short-lived surge, bringing them back in line with the past year’s level, official data showed Thursday.

Initial jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, totaled 319,000 in the week ending May 3, compared with 345,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said.

The four-week moving average rose by 4,500 to 324,750, lower than the 340,000 level from a year ago but generally within the range of the past 12 months.

“The gyrations in claims in recent weeks always seemed likely to be due to Easter seasonal adjustment problems, and this report suggests that normal service is now being restored,” said Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics.

‘We think the underlying trend in claims is in the mid-320s,” he said.

AFP Photo/Justin Sullivan

Amy Coney Barrett

Photo from Fox 45 Baltimore/ Facebook

Donald Trump will select U.S. Appeals Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court pick Saturday, multiple news outlets confirmed with White House officials on Friday — and the outlook couldn't be more bleak for reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, immigration, and the future of health care in the United States.

According to the New York Times, Trump "will try to force Senate confirmation before Election Day."

"The president met with Judge Barrett at the White House this week and came away impressed with a jurist that leading conservatives told him would be a female Antonin Scalia," the Times reported.

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