The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits rose last week, but to a low level that indicates employers are cutting relatively few jobs.
The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment aid rose 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 277,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, slipped to 269,250.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs and have remained below 300,000 for 67 straight weeks, the longest such streak since 1973.
A portion of Labor Department's Thursday release on weekly jobless claims is below:
In the week ending June 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 277,000, an increase of 13,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 264,000. The 4-week moving average was 269,250, a decrease of 250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 269,500. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims.
This marks 67 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1973. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.6 percent for the week ending June 4, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 4 was 2,157,000, an increase of 45,000 from the previous week's revised level.
The previous week's level was revised up 17,000 from 2,095,000 to 2,112,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,150,250, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 4,250 from 2,145,000 to 2,149,250. UNADJUSTED DATA The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 266,706 in the week ending June 11, an increase of 33,774 (or 14.5 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 21,656 (or 9.3 percent) from the previous week.
There were 258,764 initial claims in the comparable week in 2015. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent during the week ending June 4, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 1,982,068, an increase of 38,710 (or 2.0 percent) from the preceding week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 2,112 (or -0.1 percent) from the previous week.
A year earlier the rate was 1.5 percent and the volume was 2,056,174. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending May 28 was 1,981,073, a decrease of 34,678 from the previous week. There were 2,142,307 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2015. No state was triggered "on" the Extended Benefits program during the week ending May 28. Initial claims for UI benefits filed by former Federal civilian employees totaled 871 in the week ending June 4, an increase of 96 from the prior week.
There were 1,069 initial claims filed by newly discharged veterans, an increase of 91 from the preceding week. There were 7,134 former Federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending May 28, a decrease of 143 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 13,123, a decrease of 428 from the prior week.
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending May 28 were in Alaska (3.5), Puerto Rico (2.6), Wyoming (2.6), West Virginia (2.5), New Jersey (2.3), Pennsylvania (2.3), Connecticut (2.2), California (2.0), Illinois (1.9), and Massachusetts (1.9). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 4 were in Pennsylvania (+2,049), Ohio (+1,830), Wisconsin (+1,341), Louisiana (+452), and Kentucky (+300), while the largest decreases were in California (-9,038), Georgia (-1,251), New Jersey (-1,214), Missouri (-1,202), and New York (-853).
The figures are a reassuring sign that the job market may be healthier than other recent data suggests. Businesses cut back sharply on hiring in April and May. But a low level of applications for jobless aid is a sign that they aren't laying off workers. A low level of claims is also consistent with steady hiring over time.