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The holiday hiring season typically depresses the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits, but not in the Obama economy.

The U.S. Department of Labor says that for the first time in four weeks, jobless unemployment benefit applications rose, jumping 17,000 to a total of 361,000, a figure that was adjusted from 344,000 the week prior.

Today, 5.4 million Americans—roughly the population of the state of Minnesota—receive some form of unemployment benefits.

In 2012, monthly job growth has averaged an anemic 151,000 a month.

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