The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in a month and a half, U.S. data showed, but the pace of claims remains at a level associated with mediocre hiring trends.
Initial claims dropped by 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 374,000 in the week ended June 30, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had projected claims would total 386,000. The level of claims is a rough gauge of whether layoffs are rising or falling. Until the latest drop, first-time claims had totaled 380,000 or higher for five straight weeks.