WASHINGTON – Slightly more people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, but jobless claims remained at historically low levels.
The Labor Department says applications for weekly unemployment aid rose 1,000 to 234,000. The four-week average, a less volatile figure, fell 5,750 to 235,250.
Applications are a close indication of layoffs. They have been below 300,000, a historically low figure, for 116 weeks. That’s the longest streak since 1970.
The ultra-low figure adds to evidence that companies are holding onto workers and hiring at a steady pace. Americans are spending more, factories have cranked up output and home sales are strong, boosting the economy after it barely expanded in the first three months of the year.
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