WASHINGTON — More people sought U.S. unemployment aid last week, but the average for the past month fell to the lowest level in 15 years, a sign that few employers are cutting jobs.
The Labor Department says applications for jobless benefits rose 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 274,000 last week. Yet the four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped 1,750 to 266,250, the lowest since April 15, 2000.
The figures indicate that six years after the Great Recession forced 8.5 million layoffs, Americans are enjoying solid job security. Economists note that when adjusted for population growth, the current level of applications is likely at all-time lows.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The low readings also suggest that employers are confident about the economy's health and see little need to shed workers.