U.S. claims for unemployment benefits rise by 13K
Washington — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose to the highest level in five weeks but still remained close to the recent 43-year lows.
Applications for jobless benefits rose by 13,000 last week to 260,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That was the highest level since an identical 260,000 claim applications were filed the week of Sept. 10.
Since that time, claims had fallen to the lowest levels since November 1973. Even with last week’s gain, claims, which are a proxy for layoffs, remain at levels indicating that workers are enjoying job security despite sluggish economic growth.
The four-week average for claims, a less volatile measure, rose by 2,250 to 251,750 last week.
Overall, 2.06 million Americans are collecting unemployment checks, down 6 percent from a year ago.
The labor market has continued to show steady improvement this year although at a slower pace than in 2015. Employers added 156,000 jobs in September, fewer than the 167,000 jobs added in August and below last year’s average monthly gain of 230,000.
The unemployment rate inched up to 5 percent in September, compared to 4.9 percent in August, as more than 400,000 people entered the labor market to look for jobs but not all of them were immediately successful.
Still, the unemployment rate is just half the 10 percent high hit in October 2009 as the country was struggling to pull out of the Great Recession.