(CN) — The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits rose by a seasonally adjusted 10,000 last week to a still-low 239,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Despite the slight uptick, the four-week average for claims dropped to 231,250 — a 44-year low and evidence, according to economists, that the U.S. job market remains healthy, the department said.
The last time the four-week average was close to this low was on March 31, 1973, when it stood at 227,750.
The level of unemployment benefits has now been below 300,000 for more than two years, a stretch not equaled in more than four decades.
The economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at a 3 percent rate in the third quarter after a 3.1 percent pace in the previous quarter. These were the first back-to-back gains of 3 percent or better in three years.