Applications for US jobless aid rise, but remain at a low level

WASHINGTON – More people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, yet total applications remained at a historically low level that suggests employees enjoy a stable job.

The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment benefits rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 244,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 243,000.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. They are among the 300,000 benchmark for 111 weeks. That is the longest such streak since 1970.

The data contributes to the evidence that the labour market is healthy, even if the economy grows at a slow pace. Employers added an average of 175,000 jobs in the month of January to March. Unemployment has fallen to 4.5 percent, the lowest level in almost a decade.

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