The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell for the first time in a month, bolstering the Federal Reserve's view that the labor market is firming.
Initial jobless claims, a measure of workers laid off across the U.S., dropped by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 247,000 in the week ended July 8, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 245,000 new claims.
Weekly claims figures are rough estimates and tend to be volatile. A more-reliable measure, the four-week moving average of claims, rose by 2,250 to 245,750.