WASHINGTON (AP) " The number of people applying for unemployment benefits dropped last week to its lowest level since April 2008, extending a downward trend that shows the job market strengthening.
The Labor Department says new applications for unemployment benefits fell last week by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 364,000. It was the third straight weekly decrease. The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, dropped to 380,250, the lowest since June 2008. The average has decreased in 11 of the past 13 weeks.
Unemployment applications are a measure of the pace of layoffs. Job cuts have fallen sharply since the recession, though employers have been slow to start hiring. The four-week average is falling near 375,000 " a pace that usually signals that hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate.Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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