Jobless benefit applications rise
More Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, though the overall level remains low and points to a healthy job market.
Weekly applications increased 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 282,000, the Labor Department said. The fourweek average, a less volatile measure, rose 5,000 to 271,500. The average had fallen to a 15-year low two weeks ago.
Applications have remained below 300,000, a historically low number, for 12 weeks. That suggests Americans are experiencing solid job security. It also indicates that employers are confident enough in the economic outlook to hold onto their staffs.
The total number of people receiving benefits increased 11,000 to 2.22 million. That figure has fallen 16% in the last year and represents roughly one-quarter of the total number of unemployed. Many of those out of work have used up all their benefits. Others, such as re- cent college graduates looking for work, aren’t eligible for unemployment aid.