WASHINGTON (AP) – Fewer people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, a sign Americans are benefiting from solid job security.
The Labor Department says applications for weekly unemployment aid fell 4,000 to 232,000, the lowest level in nearly three months. The four-week average, a less volatile figure, declined 2,750 to 240,750.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs. They have been below 300,000, a historically low figure, for 115 weeks. That’s the longest such streak since 1970.
The rock-bottom figure adds to evidence that companies are holding onto workers and hiring at a steady pace. Americans are spending more, factories have cranked up output and home sales are strong, boosting the economy after it barely expanded in the first three months of the year.