WASHINGTON — Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment benefits fell more than expected in the July 27 week to their lowest level in five and a half years, declining by 19,000 to 326,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

This is the lowest level since the week of January 19, 2008, when it came in at 321,000.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.