WASHINGTON – More people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, but applications are still at a low level that points to a healthy job market.
The Labor Department says weekly unemployment benefit applications rose 15,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 258,000. The four-week average ticked up 1,000 to 240,000.
Applications, which are a proxy for layoffs, have been below 300,000, a historically low level, for 80 weeks. The figure had topped 100 weeks but the Labor Department revised the data.
The data suggest that relatively few Americans are losing their jobs. In late February, applications fell to 210,000, the lowest since 1969, according to the revised data.
Many businesses complain they are having trouble finding qualified workers to hire for their open jobs, which also makes layoffs less likely.