New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits edged higher for a second straight week but remained at a low level as the jobs market improves, government data released Thursday showed.
Initial jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, rose to 270,000 in the week ending August 1, an increase of 3,000 from the prior week's unrevised level of 267,000, the Labor Department reported.
Last week's claims number was a bit better than analysts' consensus estimate of 271,000.
The Labor Department said there were no special factors influencing the claims data.
The four-week moving average fell by 6,500 to 268,250; a year ago the average stood at 297,750. The long-running downward trend in claims comes amid a falling unemployment rate and moderate jobs growth.
On Friday, the Labor Department releases the July jobs report, expected to show the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.3 percent, a seven-year low. Analysts forecast the economy added 229,000 jobs, up from 223,000 in June.