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Economic Reports Fan Fears

Wall Street Journal (04/20/12) Ben Casselman; Nick Timiraos

Although new claims for unemployment benefits declined slightly to 386,000 last week from 388,000 a week earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, those figures may not hold up. In fact, the job market seems to be losing the momentum it had built earlier in the year, and layoffs may be increasing once again.

However, Chris Lawson, who runs a staffing firm in Texas, says business has risen in recent months as companies have become confident about hiring, and recent signs of weakness in the jobs market haven’t tempered clients’ enthusiasm. “It’s a slow, gradual process, where we might have some steps forward and some steps back,” Lawson says. “But the vibe and the pulse that I get is that companies are hiring.”