By Vicki Needham - 08/15/13 12:42 PM EDT
Economists say the market is healthier when applications fall below 375,000.
Although employers are laying off fewer workers, the job market's gains remain steady albeit sluggish.
The economy added 162,000 jobs in July, fewer than expected, while the unemployment rate dropped to 7.4 percent, the lowest level since December 2008.
The labor market's more consistent performance in recent months could spur the Federal Reserve to begin tapering their massive $85-billion in monthly stimulus in September.