Unemployment Applications Fall to 7-Month Low

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Unemployment applications dropped last week to the lowest level since April.

The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week fell to a seasonally adjusted 390,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Weekly applications for unemployment benefits have declined in three of the past four weeks, according to the Labor Department.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 400,000 -- also the lowest point since April.

"The labor market is still weak and quite stagnant but there are hopeful signs of some modest improvement," said Steve Wood, chief economist at Insight Economics.

Some financial analysts believe the data suggests layoffs are easing, as the economy grew slightly better over the summer than the government had estimated a month ago.

" are modestly strong relative to expectations -- encouraging confidence that the economy is gaining a bit of momentum," said Pierre Ellis, an analyst at Decision Economics.

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