APPLICATIONS UP: Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 366,000 last week. The level is consistent with modest hiring gains.
4-WEEK AVERAGE DOWN: The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell by 5,500 to 363,750. That's the lowest level since late March.
OUTLOOK: Applications have trended lower in the past two months, indicating companies are laying off fewer workers and hiring is picking up. When applications fall consistently below 375,000, it generally suggests hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.