APPLICATIONS FALL: The number of people seeking unemployment benefits declined last week, the third drop in the past four weeks. Applications fell 10,000 to 382,000, the government said.
DOWNWARD TREND: Applications have fallen for several months, as hiring has picked up. The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, has dropped by nearly 29,000, or about 7 percent, in the past eight weeks.
MORE HIRING: At the same time, the economy has begun to generate jobs. Companies added more than 200,000 jobs in both February and March, the biggest two-month gain since 2006.