WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- More Americans sought unemployment aid last week.
The Labor Department announced Thursday that weekly unemployment benefit applications rose 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000. The four-week average rose for the third straight week to 382,000, the highest in six weeks.
Labor officials say applications are a measure of the pace of layoffs. They fell steadily during the fall and winter but have since leveled off.
Meanwhile, hiring has also slowed, raising concerns about the pace of the recovery. Employers added an average of only 96,000 jobs per month in the past three months. That's down from an average of 252,000 in the previous three months.
Experts say when applications drop below 375,000, it typically suggests hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate.
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