Jobless claims sink to lowest level since before recession by Laura Lorenzetti @FortuneMagazine May 29, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons Fewer Americans filed for unemployment last week as jobless claims hit their lowest average since 2007. First time applications for state unemployment benefits dropped by 27,000 to 300,000 in the week ended May 24, a Labor Department report revealed Thursday. The decline was larger than the drop expected by economists, who forecast claims would reach 318,000, according to an average of 50 economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The four-week average, which is considered a better measure of underlying labor trends since it smooths out weekly volatility, reached its lowest level since August 2007, prior to the start of the recession. The better-than-expected data indicate continued improvement in the U.S. labor market.