Applications for US jobless aid rise from recent 14-year low; still points to solid job gains

Economic Indicators Associated Press

More people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, but the increase wasn't sharp enough to disrupt the job market's positive momentum.

Continue Reading Below

The Labor Department says weekly applications rose 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 290,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 6,000 to 285,000, up slightly from what had the lowest average in more than 14 years.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The four-week average has plunged 17.2 percent in the past year, a sign that businesses feel more confident about their prospects, are holding onto workers and potentially looking to amplify hiring.

Declining layoffs have been matched by a substantial increase in hiring. Employers added 214,000 jobs last month as the unemployment rate slid to 5.8 percent from 5.9 percent, the Labor Department said last week.