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Jobs Plentiful Despite Slowdown

August 20, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Despite the Asia-induced slowdown in the U.S. economy, the nation’s unemployment offices are finding few new clients.

The number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 303,000 last week, the Labor Department said today. That’s well below the 394,000 reached for two consecutive weeks in late June and early July, during the General Motors strike.

A four-week moving average of claims fell to 303,000, down from 307,000 for the period ended one week earlier. It was the lowest level in a year.

The Asian economic crisis, by damping U.S. export sales and sending a flood of inexpensive foreign goods across U.S. borders, helped slow the nation’s economic growth from a 5.5 percent annual rate during the first three months of the year to 1.4 percent during the April-June period.

Nevertheless, jobs remain plentiful and the unemployment rate in July, a 4.5 percent, remained near a 28-year low.

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