WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment aid was unchanged last week and the four-week average of applications fell to its lowest point in four years. The figures add to evidence that show the job market is improving.
Applications stayed last week at a seasonally adjusted 351,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the fewest since March 2008, when the country was just a few months into the recession.
The four-week average, which smooths week-to-week fluctuations, dropped for the sixth straight week to 359,000. That's also the lowest since March 2008.
Applications have fallen steadily since last October. The average has declined 13.5 percent since then. When applications drop consistently below 375,000, it usually signals that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.