Applications for US jobless aid hold at 245,000

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The number of unemployed workers filing for jobless benefits remained the same from the previous week at 245,000, a low level signaling a healthy job market.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average, a less volatile measure, climbed 1,750 to 237,750.

Applications are essentially a proxy for layoffs, and any reading below 300,000 is considered low in a historical context. Many employers are finding it difficult to fill their open jobs, so they are motivated to retain their existing work force.

Overall, about 1.94 million people are receiving jobless benefits, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week.

Steady economic growth is encouraging more hiring. The unemployment rate is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent.

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