WASHINGTON (The Blaze/AP) -- The number of people seeking unemployment benefits ticked up slightly last week, evidence that the job market isn't improving.
The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment benefits rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 414,000. Reuters has more:
Excluding one week in early August, claims have held above 400,000 since early April. [...]
Continuing claims eased to 3.72 million from 3.75 million. The number of total recipients on benefit rolls was 7.17 million.
U.S. employment growth ground to a halt in August, with zero net job creation raising fears of a new recession and putting pressure on the Federal Reserve to ease monetary policy further at its meeting later this month.
The report suggests companies aren't significantly increasing layoffs, despite weak economic growth. But it also signals that little hiring is taking place. Applications need to fall below 375,000 to indicate sustainable job growth. They haven't been below that level since February.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased for the third straight week to 414,750.
Hurricane Irene didn't affect applications. But the government estimated figures for several states because the Labor Day holiday delayed some reporting of data.