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New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits edged higher last week but still remained close to a seven-year low, the Labor Department said Thursday. Americans filed 304,000 initial jobless claims in the week ending April 12, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week's revised level. Initial claims, an indicator of the pace of layoffs, have been slowly trending lower as the economy recovers from recession. "The low level of initial claims in the week that covers the payroll survey period flags a 200,000-plus payrolls gain in April," said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats reluctant to embrace President Barack Obama's much-maligned health care overhaul in this year's congressional elections may be having second thoughts now that enrollment in the program is higher than expected and cost estimates are lower.