Applications for U.S. jobless aid dip 32K to 300,000

Associated Press file photo by Matt Slocum -- A recruiter waits to meet with job seekers at a June 24, 2013, career fair, in King of Prussia, Pa. The Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week. The report will be released on Thursday April 10, 2014. Show caption
Associated Press file photo by Matt Slocum -- A recruiter waits to meet with job seekers at a June 24, 2013, career fair, in King of Prussia, Pa. The Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week. The report will be released on Thursday April 10, 2014.

WASHINGTON — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in almost seven years, falling 32,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 300,000.

The Labor Department says that the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell 4,750 to 316,250.

Fewer Americans sought benefits last week than at any point since the Great Recession began at the end of 2007. Applications are at their lowest level since May of that year.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The decrease suggests that employers expect stronger economic growth in the coming months and are holding onto their workers.

Employers added 192,000 jobs in March and 197,000 in February, the Labor Department said last week. Hiring has picked up after a slowdown caused by harsh winter weather.