By MATT OTT
AP Business Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs remain at historically low levels. Jobless claims fell by 5,000 to 166,000for the week ending April 2, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The previous week’s number was revised down a whopping 31,000 claims. First-time applications for jobless aid generally represent the pace of layoffs. The four-week average for claims, which compensates for weekly volatility, fell by 8,000 to 170,000 from the previous week’s 178,000. In total, 1,523,000 Americans were collecting jobless aid for the week ending March 26, a level not seen in more than 50 years.