WASHINGTON (AP) - Fewer people applied for unemployment aid last week, the third drop in four weeks.
The Labor Department says initial claims for jobless aid dropped by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 435,000. Many Wall Street economists expected a smaller decrease.
If the decline continues, it could signal meaningful improvement in the job market. The four-week average of claims, a less volatile measure, fell 10,000 to 446,500.
That's the lowest level for the average since the week that ended Sept. 13, 2008, just before the financial crisis intensified that weekend with the collapse of Lehman Brothers.