WASHINGTON – Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, which is evidence of a stable job market and greater security for workers.
The Labor Department says weekly applications for jobless aid dipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 247,250.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs. They have stayed below 300,000, a level linked with broader job growth, for 110 weeks. That's the longest period at such a low level since 1970, when the U.S. population was much smaller.
By holding onto workers, employers are also more likely to expect the economy to grow and potentially hire.
The March jobs report released last week showed that employers added a net 98,000 jobs last month as the unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent.