LITTLE CHANGE: The number of people seeking unemployment benefits was nearly flat last week, signaling modest job growth. Weekly applications for benefits dipped by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 370,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

SLOW BUT STEADY GROWTH: Applications have leveled off this month after declining from April's five-month high of 392,000. The lower level indicates hiring could pick up in May from April's sluggish pace.

JOB FORECASTS: Economists forecast employers have added 160,000 jobs this month. That's above April's gains but below the pace set this winter. The government will report next Friday on May job growth.