The number of people filing new applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose last week but remained close to a 7-year low, the government reported Thursday, suggesting that hiring should remain steady.
The Labor Department said jobless claims rose 28,000 to 326,000 last week. The increase came after claims fell to their lowest level since May 2007 two weeks ago.
The four-week moving average, a better measure of labor-market trends because it smoothes weekly volatility, fell 1,000 to 322,500 last week. The average reached a 7-year low of 312,000 last month.
Jobless claims are a measure of layoffs, so the low levels suggest companies are cutting few jobs. Meanwhile, job creation is accelerating, with 288,000 new positions created in April, a nearly 3-year high. In the first four months of this year, employers have added an average of 214,000 jobs a month, up from 194,000 last year.
Elsewhere in the jobless-claims report, the total number of people receiving unemployment benefits fell to 2.65 million last week, the fewest since late 2007, when the Great Recession began.