US unemployment claims drop from last week; down 8% from last year

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, another sign that U.S. workers are enjoying job security.

The Labor Department says claims for jobless aid fell by 14,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 246,000. Weekly unemployment claims have now come in below 300,000 for 100 straight weeks, longest streak since 1970.

The less-volatile four-week average rose by 2,250 to 248,000.

Overall, 2.06 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits, down more than 8 percent from a year ago.

Jobless claims are a proxy for layoffs. The low levels suggest that employers are confident enough in the economy to be hanging on to their workers. The unemployment rate is 4.7 percent, close to a nine-year low and to what economists consider full employment.

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