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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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Democratic nominee Joe Biden speaking in Manitowoc, WI

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Today in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Joe Biden spoke about the toll of coronavirus, which has now officially passed 200,000. "What worries me now is we've been living with this pandemic for so long, I worry we're risking becoming numb to the toll that it's taken on us," the Democratic nominee warned. "We can't let that happen."

How did that happen? How did America lose 200,000 people to a horrendous death, with no end in sight? That tragedy can be traced directly to a vacuum of leadership in the White House, as Biden remarked. But he also saw behind that lack of presidential fortitude to its deeper cause: Donald Trump simply never cared how many of us die and he still doesn't. The evidence is in Trump's own behavior at his "superspreader rallies" – where he always protects himself while leaving his own followers to risk illness and worse.

Watch Biden describe the moral emptiness inside this president.