File - In this May 16, 2014, shoppers walk past a now hiring sign at a Ross store in North Miami Beach, Fla.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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The number of Americans filing new unemployment benefit claims fell last week and factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region accelerated in June, more evidence the economy is strengthening after a disastrous first quarter.The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions because it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 3,750 to 311,750, close to May's seven-year low.The economy has recovered the 8.7 million jobs lost during the recession and has enjoyed four straight months of job gains above 200,000, the strongest stretch since early 2000 .The claims report showed that the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid hit its lowest level since October 2007 in the week ended June 7 .
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