Hiring Outlook Brightens As Jobless Claims Fall

decline in unemployment benefits
decline in unemployment benefits

By Christopher S. Rugaber

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A steady decline in the number of people applying for weekly unemployment benefits is the latest signal that the economy has strengthened and businesses may be poised to step up hiring.

Applications fell last week fell to a seasonally adjusted 381,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the lowest level since late February.