The number of people applying for first-time unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in four years for the week that ended July 7. 

The Labor Department announced today that 350,000 people filed initial claims, which was lower than economists had predicted. Claims dropped 26,000 from the previous week. 

In the week that ended June 30, the number of people collecting unemployment benefits dropped by 14,000 to 3.3 million. 

Although the drop was larger than expected, economists surveyed by Bloomberg said this week's data might not be the most accurate portrayal of the economy's health because more automakers are foregoing their usual summer shutdowns. 

This year, many manufacturers are staying open to fill an increased demand and refill inventories instead of shutting down for two weeks, according to Bloomberg.