Economic Report: Jobless claims fall 18,000 to 214,000 around July 4 holiday, back near 49-year low

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American workers are quitting and moving to other jobs at the highest rate in 17 years.

The numbers: Initial jobless claims, a tracker of sorts for layoffs in the U.S., sank in the first week of July toward the lowest levels in almost 50 years.

New claims fell by 18,000 to 214,000 in the seven days ended July 7. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 226,000 reading.

The more stable monthly average of claims, meanwhile, slipped by 1,750 to 223,000, the government said Thursday.

The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits declined by 3,000 to 1.74 million. These are known as “continuing” claims.

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