WASHINGTON (AP) – More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, but the number of remained close to historic lows in a positive sign for the job market.
The Labor Department says applications for jobless aid rose 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 269,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 3,750 to 260,250.
Weekly applications are a proxy for layoffs. The number of people seeking aid has been below 300,000 for 74 straight weeks, the longest streak since 1973 and a sign that employers expect economic growth to continue.
The pace of hiring and economic growth slowed in the first half of 2016. But consumer spending might boost the economy in the coming months, with economists estimating that Friday’s employment report will show that 175,000 jobs were added in July.