Weekly jobless claims fall by 6,000
(AP) WASHINGTON - The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 361,000, a level consistent with modest gains in hiring.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average rose by 2,250 to 368,250 in the week that ended Aug. 4.
Weekly applications bounced around in July, skewed by the difficulty of accounting for temporary summertime layoffs in the auto industry. The seasonal distortions had faded by last week.
When applications consistently fall below 375,000, it typically suggests hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.
The job market appears to be pulling out of a midyear slump, but it still isn't very strong.
The economy added 163,000 jobs in July, the biggest increase since February. From April through June, employers had created a lackluster 73,000 jobs a month, not enough to keep up with a rising population. Despite the improvement in hiring in July, the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent in June.
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