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Sayed Mouawad, left, of Providence, R.I., shakes hands with Jillian Wallace of Matix, Inc., during a job fair in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 last week, driving down the four-week average to its lowest level in five years. The drop is a positive sign ahead of Friday’s report on February job growth.

Applications for benefits fell 7,000 in the week ended March 2, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s near five-year lows reached in January. And the four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped to 348,750. That’s the lowest since March 2008, just a few months into the Great Recession.

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