Applications for US jobless aid hold at 245,000

FILE - This Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, file photo, shows the Illinois Department of Employment Security office in Springfield, Ill. On Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017, the Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits the week before. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

WASHINGTON — The number of unemployed workers filing for jobless benefits remained the same from the previous week at 245,000, a low level signaling a healthy job market.

The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, climbed 1,750 to 237,750, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Applications are essentially a proxy for layoffs, and any reading below 300,000 is considered low in a historical context. Many employers are finding it difficult to fill their open jobs, so they are motivated to retain their existing work force.

Overall, about 1.94 million people are receiving jobless benefits, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week. Last year at this time, about 2.1 million Americans were receiving jobless benefits.

Steady economic growth is encouraging more hiring. The unemployment rate is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent.

Claims continue to be disrupted in the Virgin Islands and data gathering in Puerto Rico still has not returned to normal, the government said.

The Federal Reserve and many economists believe the unemployment rate could soon fall below 4 percent for the first time since 2000.

Similar News

WHY IT MATTERS: Health Care

Aug 11, 2016

WHY IT MATTERS: A record 9 in 10 Americans now have health insurance but costs are rising and progress is incomplete

Clinton knocks 'outlandish Trumpian ideas' in policy speech

Aug 11, 2016

Hillary Clinton sought to undercut Donald Trump's claim to working class voters Thursday, portraying her Republican rival as untrustworthy on economic issues, and pushing policies that would only benefit the super-wealthy _ himself included

Average US 30-year mortgage rate ticks up to 3.45 percent

Aug 11, 2016

Long-term U.S. mortgage rates edged higher this week, though rates remain at historically low levels. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac says the average for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked up to 3.45 percent from 3.43 percent last week.

Broaden