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Unemployment Rate

Applications for US jobless aid rise from 4-decade low

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits climbed last week, but remained near the lowest level in four decades, a sign that the slumping economy isn't boosting layoffs.

THE NUMBERS: The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment aid rose 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 257,000. Applications fell in the previous week to the lowest since November 1973. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped to 256,000 last week, also a 42-year low.

The number of people receiving aid slipped to 2.13 million, nearly 6 percent lower than a year ago.

THE TAKEAWAY: Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the historically low levels are a...