More Americans sought unemployment aid last week, but the number of applications was still at a low level that suggested hiring is healthy.
THE NUMBERS: Applications for unemployment benefits rose 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 266,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, slipped 1,000 to 256,500.
The number of Americans receiving benefits ticked up 7,000 to 2.14 million. Still, that's down nearly 6 percent from a year ago.
THE TAKEAWAY: Weekly applications are a proxy for layoffs. They are at historically low levels that suggest businesses are confident enough about the future to hold onto their employees.