Closer every day.
WASHINGTON -- The number of people applying for unemployment benefits dropped last week to its lowest level since April 2008, extending a downward trend that shows the job market strengthening.
First-time applications for unemployment benefits fell 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 364,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the third straight weekly drop.
The four-week moving average, a less volatile gauge, fell for the 11th time in 13 weeks. At 380,250, it's the lowest since June 2008.
Applications generally must fall below 375,000 - consistently - before hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate.