The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose for the second straight week yet remained at a low level that is consistent with more hiring.
The Labor Department says applications increased 12,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 294,000. Despite the increase, other data suggests that the number of laid-off workers applying for benefits is still quite low.
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The four-week average, a less volatile measure, ticked up 250 to 282,750, just barely above the previous week's level, which was the lowest in nearly 15 years.
With fewer Americans seeking aid, the number of people collecting benefits fell to 2.27 million, the lowest in more than 14 years. The benefit rolls have dropped because some unemployed have found jobs, while many others have used up all the benefits available.