WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that layoffs are declining and employers may be hiring more workers.
The Labor Department said Thursday the number of people seeking benefits dropped 10,000 to 382,000 in the week ending April 2. That's the third drop in four weeks.
The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, declined to 389,500. The average is just 1,000 above a two-year low that was reached three weeks ago.
Applications near 375,000 are consistent with a sustained increase in hiring. Applications, which reflect the pace of layoffs, peaked during the recession at 659,000.