Jobless applications monthly average falls to 8-year low

First-time applications for unemployment benefits took a steep drop last week and the monthly average hit an eight-year low as the labor market stabilizes. 

Jobless claims fell 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 289,000 last week, another signal that the broader economy is strengthening as employers lay off fewer workers, the Labor Department said Thursday.

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The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 to 303,000.

The four-week moving average was 293,500, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's revised average, the lowest level since February 2006 when it was 290,750. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 297,250 to 297,500.

Employers added 209,000 jobs in July, the sixth straight month over 200,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. 

Still, many people aren't feeling confident about the nation's recent burst of economic growth and are still concerned about theirs and their children's futures, a poll showed on Wednesday. 

Stagnating wages are a leading culprit and many people expressed frustration with Washington's inability to help the economy grow.