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The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits jumped last week, but remained at a low level that suggests hiring should remain steady. The Labor Department said Thursday, applications rose 28,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000. The average reached a seven-year low of 312,000 last month. Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the low levels suggest companies are cutting few jobs. The economy gained 288,000 jobs in April, the most in 2 ½ years, and the unemployment rate plunged to 6.3 percent from 6.7 percent.

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