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The liver of the sacrificial chicken was abnormally large and had an odd smell, while the intestines were slightly green--meaning that a jobless recovery is now marginally less likely. No, wait...

Economagic: Economic Chart Dispenser

US jobless claims fall sharply: Simone Baribeau: Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits dropped by a sharper than expected 38,000, raising hopes that the job market’s haemorrhaging may have slowed. Claims fell to 550,000 for the week ending August 1, below analysts expectations of 580,000. Continuing claims rose by 69,000 to 6.31m for the week ending July 25, after declining for three weeks, but remain about 600,000 below its peak level in this downturn. For the week ending July 18, the insured unemployment rate held steady at 4.7 per cent. The less volatile four-week average of first-time unemployment claims also declined last week, dropping by 4,750 to 552,250.

“The contraction in the labour market, albeit still troublesome, continues to moderate,” said Joseph Brusuelas, director of Moody’s Economy.com. “This is another indication that the severest portion of the downturn is in the past, but initial claims need to be around 350,000 to indicate the labour market has stabilised.”

Not sure I would have put "sharply" in the headline and the lead...

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