WASHINGTON — Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that U.S. workers still have job security despite recent tremors in the global economy.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications fell 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 254,000. The four-week average, which is less volatile, dipped slightly to 264,750.

Unemployment claims are a proxy for layoffs. The 70-week streak of claims staying below 300,000 is the longest since 1973. It’s evidence that employers view their business prospects as being strong enough to keep workers on the job, even as Britain’s vote to depart the European Union has further compounded the volatility seen in the financial markets this year.

There were recent signs that employers were turning somewhat pessimistic about the pace of growth as monthly hiring slowed sharply in April and May. Employers added just 38,000 jobs in May, the fewest in more than five years.

But economists expect the government jobs report being released Friday will show a pick-up in June, with estimates that employers added 180,000 workers.

The modest level of unemployment benefit applications indicates that employers are looking past the sluggish 1.1 percent annual U.S. economic growth recorded from January to March. The total number of people receiving benefits has dropped 7.8 percent from a year ago to 2.12 million.

Many economists are forecasting growth in excess of 2 percent for the second quarter ended in June.