US unemployment benefits rise 10,000 to 249,000

Martin Crutsinger
AP Economics Writer

Washington – The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits edged up again last week to a still-low 249,000. Meanwhile, the overall number of people collecting unemployment benefits fell to a near 44-year low, further evidence that Americans enjoy job security.

The Labor Department reports that applications for jobless aid rose by a seasonally adjusted 10,000 last week after a similar increase in the previous week.

The four-week average, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, rose to 237,750, an increase of 6,500. But the number of people receiving benefits fell to 1.89 million, a drop of 44,000, putting this figure at the lowest level since Dec. 29, 1973.

The level of unemployment benefits, which serve as a proxy for layoffs, has been below 300,000 for more than two years.