Requests for US jobless aid rose last week, but still low

Source: MGN online

WASHINGTON (AP) - More Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, but claims are still at low levels that point to greater job security.

The Labor Department says applications for jobless aid rose by 17,000 to a seasonally adjusted 268,000. The less-volatile four-week average ticked up 500 to 251,500. The overall number of people collecting unemployment checks was 2.08 million, down more than 5 percent from a year earlier.

Weekly claims have come in below 300,000 for 91 straight weeks, longest streak since 1970.

Applications for jobless benefits are a proxy for layoffs. The current levels suggest employers are confident that growth will continue. The unemployment rate is 4.9 percent, close to what economists consider full employment.