The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits rose in late July but remained near the lowest level in decades, underscoring a red-hot labor market that shows little sign of cooling.
Initial jobless claims in the period running from July 16 to July 22 increased by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 244,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.
The average of new claims over the past month, which gives a more stable picture of layoff trends, was unchanged at 244,000.
Claims often bounce up and down in July when auto makers typically close plants to retool in preparation for model switch-overs.
More broadly, new claims have been under 300,000 for 125 straight weeks, the longest run since the early 1970s. Initial claims count people who apply for unemployment benefits after losing their jobs.