US unemployment aid applications fall to 304,000

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 10, 2014 at 8:17 am •  Published: July 10, 2014
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A separate government report Tuesday showed that total layoffs in May fell below 1.6 million, lower than even pre-recession levels. And more workers are quitting their jobs, the report found, which can be a sign of confidence, since most workers quit when they have new positions or are confident they can find one.

In addition, the number of open jobs jumped to the highest level in seven years, a sign that companies could step up hiring in the months ahead.

Employers, meanwhile, added 288,000 jobs in June, the fifth straight month of job gains above 200,000. That's the first such stretch since 1999. The unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, the lowest since September 2008.

However, the steady hiring gains have yet to spur big increases in wages, which have barely kept pace with inflation since the end of the recession five years ago.

But more people with jobs means more paychecks, which could boost consumer spending and growth. After a sharp contraction in the economy in the first three months of the year, most economists expect growth to return in the April-June quarter and top 3 percent at an annual pace in the second half of 2014.