Jobless claims fell to 304,000 last week

Applications for jobless benefits fell to nearly a seven-year low last week, another encouraging signal that the labor market is recovering at a faster pace.

First-time claims for unemployment benefits decreased 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The four-week average, which is a better indicator of the job market's health, fell 3,500 to 311,500, a sign that employers are laying off fewer workers. 

In June, employers added 288,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent, the lowest level since September 2008. 

It was the fifth straight month of job creation over 200,000 — the best streak since 1999, during the tech boom.