US Applications for unemployment assistance rose last week

WASHINGTON (AP) – More Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, but claims remain at levels showing that American workers enjoy job security.

The Labor Department says applications for jobless aid rose by 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 251,000. They had fallen the previous week to the lowest level since 1973. The less-volatile four-week average slid by 2,000 to 251,000. The overall number of people collecting unemployment checks was 2.04 million, down more than 6 percent from a year earlier.

Weekly claims have come in below 300,000 for 90 straight weeks, longest streak since 1970.

Layoffs are a proxy for layoffs, and the current levels suggest the employers are confident enough in the economy to hold onto their workers. The unemployment rate is 4.9 percent, close to what economists consider full employment.


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