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The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage declined to 2.74 percent from 2.76 percent last week. The record low of 2.63 percent also was reached in November.

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Facebook unveils 'Home' for Android phones

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) â¿¿ With its new "Home" on Android gadgets, Facebook aims to put its social network at the center of people's mobile experiences.

If users choose to download Facebook's Home software beginning April 12, the social network will become the hub of their Android smartphones. A phone from HTC that comes pre-loaded with Home will also be available starting that day, with AT&T Inc. the carrier.

The idea behind the software is to bring Facebook content right to the home screen, rather than requiring users to check apps. "Home" comes amid rapid growth in the number of people who access Facebook from phones and tablet computers. Of its 1.06 billion monthly users, 680 million log on to Facebook using a mobile gadget.

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US unemployment aid applications jump to 385,000

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week by 28,000, the third straight increase.

Weekly applications increased to a seasonally adjusted 385,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the highest level since late November. The gain pushed the four-week average, a less volatile measure, to 354,250.

A Labor Department spokesman says the figures may have been affected by the Easter holiday. The department says the holiday's timing varies from year to year, which makes it difficult to adjust for school closings and other seasonal factors that can alter the data.

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US is halfway to Obama 5-year export-doubling goal

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Suddenly, outsourcing is on the way out and insourcing on the way in as the U.S. trudges unevenly toward President Barack Obama's goal of doubling American exports around the world by the start of 2015.

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