WASHINGTON – More people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, though the increase was from a very low level and the figures still point to a healthy job market.
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The Labor Department says applications for jobless aid rose 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped 3,750 to 274,750.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs, and two weeks ago they plummeted to the lowest level in almost 42 years. That suggests that Americans are enjoying a nearly unprecedented level of job security.
The number of people receiving benefits rose 46,000 to 2.26 million. That figure has fallen 11.2 percent in the past year as employers have stepped up hiring, though some of that decline reflects those who have exhausted all the benefits available to them.