The number of people seeking unemployment benefits changed little last week, signaling modest job growth.
The Labor Department says that weekly applications for benefits dipped by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 370,000. Applications have leveled off this month after declining from April's five-month high of 392,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, has also dropped - it was 370,000 last week.
The lower level indicates hiring could pick up a bit in May from April's sluggish pace. When applications drop below 375,000 a week, it typically suggests hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.