WASHINGTON - The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits rose 8,000 last week to 339,000, evidence that layoffs ticked up. Still, the increase wasn t enough to suggest the job market is worsening.
Applications for jobless benefits rise to 339K
The Labor Department says the four week average of applications, a less volatile measure, increased 3,500 to a seasonally adjusted 336,750.
The average is roughly in line with pre-recession levels and suggests that, despite last week s rise, companies are cutting few jobs. Applications are a proxy for layoffs.
Last week s figure may also have been pushed up by cold weather, which can cause construction firms and other companies to stop work.
A total of 3.52 million Americans received benefits as of Jan. 25 - the latest data available - up from 3.47 million the previous week.
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