WASHINGTON – Fewer Americans sought unemployment aid last week, the latest sign that companies are holding onto their workers.
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The Labor Department says weekly applications for jobless benefits fell 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 254,000. That's down from a three-month high in the previous week. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, ticked up 1,750 to 259,750.
Applications, which are a proxy for layoffs, have remained below 300,000 for 88 straight weeks, the longest streak since 1970. Businesses appear to be confident enough in their future prospects to maintain their staffs. And when layoffs are so low, companies typically step up hiring. A separate report earlier this week showed layoffs near record-low levels.
Just over 2 million people are receiving unemployment aid, up 18,000 from the previous week.