Slightly more Americans applied for jobless aid last week, but the number of people seeking benefits has stayed near historic lows that point to a robust job market.
The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications rose by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 248,000. The less volatile four-week average rose 750 to 243,000.
Applications are linked to layoffs. Jobless claims have come in below 300,000 for 122 weeks in a row. That's the longest such stretch since 1970 when the U.S. population was much smaller.
Employers have hired this year at a slower pace as the unemployment rate has fallen to a healthy 4.3 percent. The Labor Department's employment report to be released Friday is expected to show job gains in June of roughly 180,000.