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Washington (AFP) — Another fall in U.S. weekly unemployment claims shows a tightening jobs market, analysts said Thursday.

The claims for the week to August 2, a sign of the pace of layoffs, fell to 289,000 from the previous week’s 303,000.

It was the second reading below the 300,000 level in a month, and the four-week moving average fell to 293,500, its lowest level since February 2006, more than a year before the U.S. financial crisis.

Economists said that, though the weekly numbers are volatile, the downward trend supports views that the jobs market is tightening.

The Federal Reserve has argued that despite the sharp fall in the unemployment rate to 6.2 percent, a level it had expected only at the end of 2014, there remains significant slack that has left far too many Americans without jobs.

Millions of people without work are not be counted as officially unemployed because they dropped out of the jobs market altogether after the 2008-2009 recession.

“Through the volatility, the claims data continue to signal an improving labor market,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist and High Frequency Economics.

AFP Photo/Scott Olson

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Danziger Draws

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.

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Photo by The White House

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