WASHINGTON, U.S. - The Labour department figures revealed on Thursday show that more people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week.
However, the total number of applications remained at a historically low level, indicating that workers continue to enjoy strong job security.
According to the figures released by the department, weekly applications for unemployment benefits rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 244,000.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 243,000.
In a dramatic drop, the number of Americans seeking benefits dropped 49,000 to 1.98 million.
The figure, which has declined 7.7 percent in the past year, is also the lowest number of people seeking benefits since April 2000.
Applications, adding the current week’s figures, the department said have been below the 300,000 benchmark for 111 weeks.
This is the longest such record held since the year 1970.
The figures further reiterated the healthy status of the job market, even as the economy is growing at a sluggish pace.
From January through March, employers added an average of about 175,000 jobs a month.
The unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent, the lowest in nearly a decade.
Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities said there is a “steady downtrend in place in the pace of layoffs.”
U.S. financial markets were not moved much by the data.
In recent trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose over 180 points to 20,400.
So far in 2017, the Dow is up 3.3 percent.