Unemployment benefit applications hover at 276,000, suggesting few layoffs

Applications for unemployment benefits held steady at 276,000 in the first week of November, the Labor Department reported Thursday, advancing the trend toward decades-low claims.

The four-week moving average for first-time claims rose for a second straight week, by 5,000 to 267,750. Despite that increase, however, the average is still at a level not seen before this fall since the early 1970s.

Private-sector economists polled by Bloomberg had expected around 266,000 first-time claims, which are adjusted for seasonal fluctuations.

Officials and investors view low levels of jobless claims as a sign that layoffs are also infrequent.

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