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[WASHINGTON] The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits increased last week, but remained near cycle lows in a sign that the jobs market was gaining steam.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000 for the week ended July 25, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were unrevised at 255,000, which was the lowest level since November 1973.
A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing the data and that only claims for Puerto Rico had been estimated.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 3,750 to 274,750 last week.
Thursday's claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid rose 46,000 to 2.26 million in the week ended July 18. The so-called continuing claims covered the week during which the government surveyed households for July's unemployment rate.