WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment insurance was unchanged last week, while those continuing to claim benefits dipped.
The Labor Department says first-time claims for jobless benefits were a seasonally adjusted 505,000, the same as the previous week's revised figure and matching analysts' expectations.
The four-week average, which smooths out volatility, fell for the 11th straight week to 514,000, the lowest level in almost a year.
Economists closely track initial claims, which are considered a gauge of the pace of layoffs and an indication of companies' willingness to hire new workers.
The number of people continuing to claim benefits dropped by 39,000 to 5.61 million.