The number of people signing up for jobless benefits declined last week, the third straight drop from a six-year high reached earlier this month, the government said Thursday.
Applications for unemployment benefits dropped to a seasonally adjusted 425,000, down 10,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department reported. That was a slightly better figure than the 427,000 analysts expected.
The four-week moving average also improved to 440,250, down from 446,250 the previous week.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said Thursday that the economy grew at a 3.3 percent annual rate in the second quarter, faster than analysts expected.
Still, jobless claims remain at an elevated level. There were 332,000 initial claims for benefits in the year-ago period.
The number of people continuing to receive unemployment also rose to 3.4 million, up 64,000 from the previous week and the highest level in almost five years.
A Labor Department outreach program, coupled with businesses cutting jobs due to higher energy costs and tighter credit markets caused claims to spike to 457,000 for the week of Aug. 2. That was the largest total since claims surged to 479,000 in March 2002.