The Associated PressAPPLICATIONS FALL: Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment aid fell 23,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 369,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The drop came after the figures were distorted for two weeks by technical problems. MODEST HIRING: The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose to 368,000. That level is consistent with modest hiring. LITTLE CHANGE: Applications have fluctuated between 360,000 and 390,000 since January. At the same time, employers have added an average of nearly 150,000 jobs a month. That's barely been enough to lower the unemployment rate, which has declined from 8.3 percent to 7.8 percent this year.