SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 16: A help wanted sign is posted in the window of hardware store on September 16, 2021 in San Francisco, California. Unemployment claims inched up to 332,000 from a pandemic low of 312,000 a week before. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans applied for jobless benefits last week, but the previous week’s number was revised upward significantly, with claims breaching the 250,000 level in back-to-back weeks for the first time in more than eight months. Applications for jobless aid for the week ending July 23 declined by 5,000 to 256,000 from the previous week’s 261,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The number of claims for the week of July 16 was revised upward by 10,000 from the previously estimated 251,000. First-time applications generally reflect layoffs. The total number of Americans collecting jobless benefits for the week ending July 16 fell by 25,000 from the previous week to 1,359,000.