U.S. jobless claims drop 26,000 to 350,000

By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — First-time filings for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in more than four years, but the decline likely stemmed from fewer auto-sector layoffs than normal and other onetime factors that could soon be reversed.

Jobless claims sank 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000 in the week ended July 7, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had projected they would fall to 365,000 from an upwardly revised 376,000 in the prior week.

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