The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 5,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 305,000, the second-lowest level in six years. Steady declines in applications show that very few companies are laying off workers. The Labor Department says the less volatile four-week average declined 7,000 to 308,000, the lowest since June 2007. Applications are a proxy for layoffs. Fewer layoffs suggest employers are confident enough to maintain their staffing levels. But companies have been reluctant to take the next step and ramp up hiring.