A job seeker speaks with a hiring executive. Years of strong hiring have reduced layoffs in the U.S. to the lowest level in decades. The numbers: The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits in the week at the end of August rose slightly, but there was no sign of rising or widespread layoffs even as the U.S. economy confronted more obstacles to growth. Initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, edged up by 1,000 to 217,000 in the seven days ended Aug. 31, the government said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch estimated new claims would total a seasonally adjusted 213,000.
Read: ADP says 195,000 private-sector jobs added in August What happened: Actual or unadjusted jobless claims rose the most in Illinois, but they fell in Florida and New York to keep the national total roughly the same as in the prior week. The more stable monthly average of new claims rose by 1,500 to 216,250. The four-week average gives a more accurate read into labor-market conditions than the more volatile weekly number. The num
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