The FINANCIAL — The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for jobless benefits rose only slightly last week, a sign layoffs have stabilized and the economy is adding jobs, according to Nasdaq.
Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, increased by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 274,000 in the week ended Aug. 8, the Labor Department said on August 13.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast 270,000 new applications for jobless benefits last week.
The level of claims for the Aug. 1 week was revised down by 1,000 to 269,000.
As is typical, claims figures were volatile during July due to temporary summer shutdowns for retooling at auto factories. Claims touched the lowest level since 1973 in mid-July before increasing for three straight weeks. That volatility appears to have eased this month. The Labor Department said there were no special factors impacting the latest weekly data.
The four-week moving average of claims fell by 1,750 last week to 266,250. That marks the lowest level since April 2000.
A low level of layoffs typically coincides with strong hiring. U.S. employers added a seasonally adjusted 215,000 jobs to payrolls in July, the Labor Department said last week. That helped the unemployment rate hold at 5.3%, the lowest level in seven years.
Thursday’s data showed the number of continuing unemployment benefit claims–those drawn by workers for more than a week–increased by 15,000 to 2,273,000 in the week ended Aug. 1. Continuing claims are reported with a one-week lag.