WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week to its lowest level in eight years.
The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment aid dropped 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 284,000. That's the lowest reading since February 2006, nearly two years before the Great Recession began.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined 7,250 to 302,000. Claims for jobless aid have been falling for the past three months.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs. When businesses hold onto staff, increased hiring and stronger economic growth often follows.
Hiring is at its healthiest clip since the late 1990s and the 6.1 percent unemployment rate is at a 5 1/2-year low. Employers added 288,000 jobs in June, the fifth straight month of job gains above 200,000.
To comment, the following rules must be followed:
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.
Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide detailed information.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.