U.S. Claims for Jobless Aid Slide to Lowest Level Since July

FILE - In this April 22, 2015, file photo, a job seeker fills out an application during a National Career Fairs job fair in Chicago. According to information released by the Labor Department on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, applications for U.S. jobless aid climbed in the week earlier, but the number of Americans seeking benefits remains close to historic lows in a positive sign for the job market. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)
A job seeker fills out an application during a National Career Fairs job fair in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since July, more evidence that U.S. workers are enjoying job security.

The Labor Department says jobless claims slid by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 252,000. That matched the level in mid-July, which was the lowest since April. The less volatile four-week average fell by 2,250 to 258,500.

Weekly claims have come in below 300,000 for 81 straight weeks, longest such streak since 1970.

Applications for unemployment benefits are a proxy for measuring layoffs. The low level of claims suggests that companies are holding onto staff.

The U.S. job market has been solid despite lackluster economic growth. Unemployment is at a healthy 4.9 percent, and employers have added 204,000 jobs a month over the past year.