WASHINGTON – Fewer people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, another sign the job market is improving.
The Labor Department says weekly claims for jobless aid fell 14,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 298,000. The prior week's figures were revised up slightly to 311,000.
The less-volatile four-week average rose 4,750 to 300,750. It remains close to levels that predate the Great Recession of 2007-2009.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs.
Employers added 209,000 jobs in July, the sixth straight month job gains exceeded 200,000. The economy has generated 244,000 new jobs a month since February.
The recent hiring has encouraged more people to look for work, causing July's unemployment rate to rise to 6.2 percent from 6.1 percent in June. The government counts only people searching for jobs as unemployed.