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Unemployment Benefits

Applications for US jobless aid rise, but levels still low

More Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, but applications stayed near historically low levels in a positive sign for the job market.

THE NUMBERS: Weekly applications for jobless aid rose 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 285,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased slightly to 284,750. The number of people collecting aid has dropped 5.5 percent in the past year to 2.3 million.

THE TAKEAWAY: Jobless claims at these levels suggest that employers are still eager to hire. Applications for unemployment benefits are a proxy for layoffs. The number of people seeking benefits has stayed below the crucial...

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