WASHINGTON (The Blaze/AP) -- The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in seven weeks, although applications remain elevated.
The Labor Department says applications for benefits dropped by 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 418,000.
Applications have topped 400,000 for 13 weeks, evidence the job market has weakened since the beginning of the year. Applications had fallen in February to 375,000, a level that signals sustainable job growth. They stayed below 400,000 for seven of the next nine weeks. But then applications surged to an eight-month high of 478,000 in April and have shown only modest improvement since. Bloomberg has more:
“Claims are still stuck at a level that’s too high,” Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto, said before the report. “A lot of companies aren’t going to worry about hiring until they are certain the economic recovery is self-sustaining. It’s still a soft-patch environment.”
The department says that about 2,500 applications in Minnesota were from state employees temporarily laid off due to a state government shutdown.