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Weekly applications for US unemployment benefits fall to 331K, near a 5-year low.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits remained near the lowest level in more than five years last week, a sign that companies are cutting few jobs.

The Labor Department says weekly applications for benefits fell 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 331,000. The four week average, a less volatile measure, inched up 750 to 331,250 after reaching a 5½-year low the previous week.

Applications for unemployment benefits reflect layoffs. At the depths of the recession in March 2009, they numbered 670,000. The average has fallen 10 percent this year.

Though employers are cutting few jobs, most have yet to start hiring aggressively.

Employers have added an average of 192,000 jobs a month since January. That's enough to gradually lower the unemployment rate, which fell to 7.4 percent in July.

Bank Rates

Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
30 Y Fixed Graph 3.98% up 3.95%  
15 Y Fixed Graph 3.05% -- 3.05%  
30 Y Fixed Jumbo Graph 4.23% dw 4.53%  
5/1 ARM Graph 3.32% dw 3.71%  
5/1 Jumbo ARM Graph 3.14% dw 3.38%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
$30K HELOC Graph 4.32% up 4.31%  
$50K HELOC Graph 4.06% -- 4.06%  
$30K Loan Graph 5.05% -- 5.05%  
$50K Loan Graph 4.48% dw 4.49%  
$75K Loan Graph 4.50% dw 4.51%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
36 M New Graph 2.94% -- 2.94%  
36 M Used Graph 3.49% up 3.46%  
48 M New Graph 3.22% -- 3.22%  
48 M Used Graph 3.04% -- 3.04%  
60 M New Graph 3.24% -- 3.24%  
Loan Type Graph Yield +/- Last Week
6 month Graph 0.39% up 0.38%  
1 yr Graph 0.71% up 0.71%  
5 yr Graph 1.50% -- 1.50%  

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