Washington • More people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, but jobless claims remain at pre-recession levels.
Weekly applications for unemployment aid rose 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The prior week's claims were revised down to 279,000, the lowest since May 2000.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell 3,500 to 297,250. That's the lowest average since April 2006, more than a year before the Great Recession began at the end of 2007.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs. When employers keep their workers, it suggests potential income gains, active hiring and confidence that the economy is growing.