Weekly jobless claims post a drop of 10,000

WASHINGTON - Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as most U.S. workers continue to enjoy job security.

The Labor Department says claims for jobless aid fell by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 245,000 last week. The less-volatile, four-week average rose by 2,250 to 242,000.

Unemployment claims are a proxy for layoffs. They have come in below 300,000, a historically low number, for 118 straight weeks. That is the longest such streak since 1970.

The low levels reflect a healthy job market. The U.S. unemployment rate fell last month to a 16-year low 4.3 percent.

Overall, nearly 1.92 million people were collecting unemployment checks, down nearly 10 percent from a year ago. The four-week average number of Americans receiving jobless aid was 1.91 million, lowest since January 1974.