More Americans applied for jobless aid last week, though the number of people seeking benefits remains near historic lows pointing to a healthy job market.
THE NUMBERS: Weekly unemployment applications rose by 10,000 to 244,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the largest weekly increase since late May. The less volatile four-week average was unchanged at 244,000. The number of people collecting unemployment benefits has fallen 8.3 percent over the past 12 months to 2 million.
THE TAKEAWAY: The job market appears solid as the U.S. enters its ninth year of recovery from the Great Recession. Employers are holding onto workers with the expectation that business will continue to improve. Jobless claims — a close indication of layoffs — have come in below 300,000 for 125 weeks in a row. That’s the longest such stretch since 1970, when the U.S. population was much smaller.
KEY DRIVERS: After a weak