Unemployment Rate

Claims for US jobless benefits tick up, level still healthy

More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, but claims remained at a low level consistent with a healthy job market.

THE NUMBERS: The Labor Department said Thursday that 244,000 Americans applied for jobless aid last week, up by 6,000 from the previous week. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell by 4,000 to 241,000, lowest since July 1973.

Overall, 2.06 million people are collecting unemployment checks, down 7.7 percent from a year ago.

THE TAKEAWAY: Unemployment claims are a proxy for layoffs. They have come in below 300,000 a week for 103 straight weeks, the longest such streak since 1970. The low levels of claims suggest that...

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