Claims for jobless aid slide to lowest level since July

Paul Wiseman
Associated Press

Washington — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since July, more evidence that U.S. workers are enjoying job security.

The Labor Department says jobless claims slid by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 252,000. That matched the level in mid-July, which was the lowest since April. The less-volatile four-week average fell by 2,250 to 258,500.

Weekly claims have come in below 300,000 for 81 straight weeks, longest such streak since 1970.

Applications for unemployment benefits are a proxy for measuring layoffs. The low level of claims suggests that companies are holding onto staff.

The U.S. job market has been solid despite lackluster economic growth. Unemployment is at a healthy 4.9 percent, and employers have added 204,000 jobs a month over the past year.