The number of people who applied for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits ticked up 1,000 to 295,000 in the week that ended April 18, signaling a low level of layoffs, according to government data released Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected jobless claims to decline to 288,000 from 294,000 in the prior week. The average of new claims over the past month, a less volatile figure than the weekly data, rose by 1,750 to 284,500, the U.S. Labor Department reported. Also Thursday the government said continuing claims, which show the number of people already receiving weekly unemployment checks, rose 50,000 to 2.33 million in the week that ended April 11. The four-week average for these ongoing claims dropped 22,000 to 2.31 million, the lowest level since December 2000.
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