Washington D.C. A report issued by the Labor Department on Thursday said that the number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits dropped slightly last week to its lowest level in two months, a sign that employers are cutting fewer jobs.
New claims for jobless benefits fell by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 450,000, the third decline in four weeks. Many economists had expected an increase.
Claims have fallen by 11% in the past month, after jumping to 504,000 in the week ending Aug. 14. The four-week average of new claims, fell sharply to 464,750, down 13,500 from the previous week.
Initial claims are still above levels that would signal widespread hiring. In a healthy economy, claims usually fall below 400,000.
The unemployment claims report covers the week that included Labor Day, and claims frequently drop in holiday-shortened weeks.