WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell last week, though the decline isn't enough to signal improvement in the job market.
Weekly applications dropped by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 423,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.
The four-week average, a less volatile figure, rose slightly for the fifth straight week to 421,000.
Applications typically need to fall below 375,000 to signal sustainable job growth. They haven't been that low since February.
"September is shaping up to be another difficult month for the job market," said Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody's Analytics.