US Unemployment Aid Applications Tick Up to 371K
Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits ticked up slightly last week, the latest sign of slow but consistent gains in the job market.
The Labor Department said Thursday that applications rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 371,000, the most in five weeks. The previous week’s total was revised lower.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 6,750 to 365,750, after falling to a four-year low the previous week.
A department spokesman says all states reported data and none were estimated. In the previous two weeks, the department relied heavily on estimates because many states weren’t able to report data over the holidays.
The figures "continue to suggest steady but modest U.S. employment gains," Robert Kavcic, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note to clients. "That said, claims stubbornly refuse to break below the ... range that has been in place for the past year."
Weekly applications are a proxy for layoffs. They have fluctuated for most of the past 12 months between 360,000 and 390,000. At the same time, job growth has been stable.