CLAIMS DOWN: Fewer people applied for unemployed benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. But the drop wasn't large enough to reverse a big increase the previous week.

STILL ELEVATED: Applications totaled 452,000 last week. That's the same level they have fluctuated around since January. Employers aren't willing to hire amid the weak economy.

LAYOFFS CONTINUE: Some companies are cutting workers, even as profits increase. Xerox Corp. said Thursday it will eliminate 2,500 jobs as it digests its $6 billion acquisition of a computer services firm. The company also said its quarterly profit doubled from a year earlier.