Applications for US unemployment benefits stayed low last week at 295K, signaling few layoffs

EnergyAssociated Press

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits was little changed last week, evidence that employers are cutting few jobs.

The Labor Department says weekly applications for jobless aid ticked up 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 295,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased to 284,500. Still, that is just 2,000 higher than three weeks ago when the average was at a nearly 15-year low.

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Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The very low level of the average is a sign of solid job security.

Growth slowed in the first three months of the year and hiring weakened in March. Yet when applications are low, it suggests employers aren't worried enough to cut jobs. That, in turn, could be a sign the growth slowdown will be temporary.