The number of people filing first time claims for jobless benefits was put at 400,000 last week. That is a small drop of 1,000 from the previous week.
While 400,000 is not a good number, it is the lowest level in four months. The previous week's figure was revised upward from 398,000 to 401,000.
The four-week average, a less volatile figure, dropped for the fifth straight week to 407,750. That suggests there is a downward trend in applications.
Applications for unemployment benefits have been at or above 400,000 for 17 weeks.
They fell in February to 375,000, a level that signals job growth, and they stayed below 400,000 for two months. Applications then surged to an eight-month high of 478,000 in April and have stayed at or above 400,000 ever since.
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