WASHINGTON (AP) — Slightly more Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, but the total number receiving aid remained at its lowest level in more than seven years.
Applications for unemployment aid rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 3,000 to a still-low 302,750. A steady decline in applications over the summer means that 2.46 million people collected benefits last week, the fewest since June 2007, a few months before the Great Recession began.
Applications for benefits tend to reflect the pace of layoffs. When employers keep their workers, it suggests that they are more confident about economic growth and possibly ready to increase hiring.
"The current pace of jobless claims is consistent with monthly job growth of more than 200,000," said Gus Faucher, a senior economist at PNC Financial Services.
The job market has improved as the number of applications for unemployment benefits has dropped. On Friday, the Labor Department will release the August employment report, and employers are expected to have added 220,000 jobs, according to FactSet. Economists have forecast that the unemployment rate dipped to 6.1 percent from 6.2 percent.
Continue reading this story on the...