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The number of people filing new applications for unemployment benefits dipped last week, offering a hopeful sign for recovery in the nation's labor market.

The Labor Department reported today that new claims for unemployment insurance dropped by a seasonally adjusted 3,000 to 334,000 for the week ending Nov. 13. That was the lowest level since the end of October.

Last week's decline followed an increase in new filings of 5,000 in the prior week.

Meanwhile, the number of people continuing to draw unemployment benefits for the week of Nov. 6 -- the most recent period for which that information is available -- stood at 2.8 million, a decrease of 16,000 from the prior week. When compared with a year earlier, the improvement is more clear. A year ago, the number of people collecting claims was 3.5 million.

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