WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dipped to a 12-week low at the start of February, a sign of a stable job market for U.S. workers.
The Labor Department says claims for jobless aid fell 12,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 234,000, the best reading since this past November. The less-volatile four-week average decline 3,750 to 244,250, which was the lowest average since November 1973.
Fewer Americans are seeking and collecting jobless benefits. The number of people receiving benefits has fallen 7 percent over the past 12 months to 2.08 million.
Jobless claims are a proxy for layoffs. The low levels suggest that employers are confident enough in the economy to retain their workers and possibly looking to hire. Employers added 227,000 jobs in January.