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The economy is in a slow-growth mode, and unemployment remains high. Until companies start deploying cash and putting Americans back to work, the situation may not improve. Reuters

The applications for jobless benefits in the U.S. fell more than expected last week, recording a drop for a second consecutive week.

Initial jobless claims in the US dropped by 5,000 to 382,000 compared with the revised figure of 387,000 in the previous week, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Markets had expected the jobless claims to fall to 384,000 in the week.

Also, the seasonally adjusted four-week moving average of initial claims, considered as a more accurate measure of employment trends than the weekly number, decreased by 1,500 to 386,250, the lowest level since July 2008.

However, the number of people continuing to collect jobless allowance rose unexpectedly by 2,000 to 3.72 million in the week ended March. 12, compared to the economists’ expectations of fall to 3.70 million.

The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits remained unchanged at 3 percent for the week ending March 12.

While North Carolina witnessed the largest increase in claims with 930 people filing for employment benefits, New York saw the largest drop in claims at 16,917.

The total number of people receiving jobless allowance from state and federal governments rose by 187,370 to 8.76 million in the week ended March. 5.