US jobless claims tick down to 411,000 as economy heals

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits dropped last week, a sign that layoffs declined and the job market is improving. The Labor Department said Thursday that jobless claims declined just 7,000 from the previous week to 411,000. The number of weekly applications for unemployment aid has fallen steadily this year from about 900,000 in January. The level of unemployment claims generally reflects the pace of layoffs.