WASHINGTON – Fewer people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, as jobless claims remain at relatively low levels that point toward stronger economic growth.
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The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment aid fell 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 289,000. The prior week's was revised up slightly to 303,000.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell 4,000 to 293,500. That's the lowest average since February 2006, almost two years before the Great Recession began at the end of 2007.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs. When employers keep their workers, it suggests potentially rising incomes, increased hiring activity and confidence that the economy is improving.
Employers added a net total of 209,000 jobs in July, the sixth straight month of job gains above 200,000, the government reported Friday.