WASHINGTON (AP) – More Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, but the number of applications continues to be at historically low levels that suggest solid economic growth will continue.
The Labour Department said Wednesday that applications for unemployment benefits climbed 17,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 298,000.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose 250 to 290,750. That average has plummeted 17.5 per cent in the past 12 months. “The claims data still point to relatively upbeat conditions in the labor market,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan Chase, noting that there are routinely ups and downs in the weekly figures.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs. For almost four months, applications for jobless aid have hovered at relatively low sub-300,000 levels.