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US Jobless Claims Show Job Market Still Stagnant

The latest information from the U.S. government shows American workers are still having a tough time finding jobs.

Thursday's report from the Labor Department says the number of Americans continuing to collect jobless benefits rose to a record high for a 16th week in a row - to almost 6.7 million.

The report also finds the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, by 12,000 to 631,000, a sign the pace of layoffs may have slowed.

Still, the U.S. Congressional Budget Office warned lawmakers Thursday that the job market will likely get much worse.

The CBO director, Douglas Elmendorf said the unemployment rate will top 10 percent next year.

On Wednesday the Federal Reserve (U.S. central bank) warned the U.S. economy will get worse despite "tentative evidence" of improvement, with the country's unemployment rate climbing close to 10 percent this year.

Meanwhile, two separate reports Thursday indicate the recession in the U.S. is beginning to ease.

The private New York-based Conference Board said Thursday its index of leading economic indicators, which looks at data that include jobless claims, stock prices and orders for goods, rose one percent in April.

And one of the Federal Reserve's regional banks said manufacturing is contracting but at a slower pace than in previous months.