Fewer people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, evidence that employers remain confident in the economy and are laying off few workers.
The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment aid dropped by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 271,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, ticked up by 1,000 to 272,500.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs and are at historically low levels, suggesting businesses are holding on to their staffs. Earlier this month, the four-week average stood at 266,000, the lowest since April 15, 2000.