U.S. jobless claims fall to 364,000

The U.S. jobs market is snapping back. The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits fell last week to its lowest level since the health crisis began while layoffs plunged in June to their lowest level in two decades.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that initial claims for unemployment benefits declined to 364,000. That drop was deeper than economists had expected. But the pace of decline has moderated since May, and the number is still far above the range that economists consider consistent with a healthy labor market.

Separately, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that layoffs plummeted 88% in June from a year ago. As companies hold on to their workers at a time of record job openings, Challenger said the latest quarter recorded the fewest job cuts since the dot-com boom of 1997.

That’s another good sign for the government jobs report for June, which comes out Friday. Economists expect payrolls will have risen by 700,000 last month.

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