WASHINGTON — Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, a sign of the job market appears to be increasingly secure for workers.
THE NUMBERS: Weekly applications for unemployment aid plunged 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dipped to 250,000.
Over the past year, the number of people collecting benefits had tumbled 7.2
THE TAKEAWAY: U.S. workers face a lower risk of losing their jobs, since applications are a proxy for layoffs. The weekly figure has remained below 300,000, a level linked with job growth, for 109 weeks. That's the longest such stretch since 1970, when the U.S. population was much smaller.
KEY DRIVERS: The recovery from the Great Recession is nearly eight years old, with the unemployment rate down to a healthy 4.7
The March jobs report to be released Friday is expected to show that employers added 178,000 jobs last month, according to a survey of economists by the data provider FactSet.
But there is the potential that hiring beats those expectations based off a private survey.
On Wednesday, payroll processor ADP said that private businesses added 263,000 jobs in March, the most since December 2014.
Josh Boak, The Associated Press