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Have you exhausted your unemployment benefits?

Line of job seekers.

Line of job seekers. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, the government announced this morning. But at the same time thousands  and thousands of unemployed people have exhausted their extended jobless benefits in recent months. 

If you live on Long Island, have run out of unemployment benefits and would be willing to talk to us about it, please email bizeditor@newsday.com

Here is what The Associated Press reported about today's announcement.

Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that layoffs are dropping and employers may be hiring more workers.

The Labor Department said Thursday the number of people seeking benefits dropped 10,000 to 382,000 in the week ending April 2. That’s the third drop in four weeks.

The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, declined to 389,500. The average is just 1,000 above a two-year low that was reached three weeks ago. Applications near 375,000 are consistent with a sustained increase in hiring.

Applications, which reflect the pace of layoffs, peaked during the recession at 659,000. The number of people seeking benefits has fallen for several months. The four-week average has dropped by 28,750, or nearly 7 percent, in the past eight weeks. At the same time, companies are adding more employees.

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