(CN) – The Labor Department said Thursday that 53,000 more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, an increase from the 49-year low the week before.
The 253,000 weekly applications for jobless aid is the highest number since September 2017, according to the government’s report, but is still low enough to indicate job security for most workers and the figures are expected to drop soon.
The more stable four-week average for unemployment claims increased by 5,000 last week to just over 220,000.
After the 35-day government shutdown ended last week, the number of federal workers applying for unemployment checks dropped 42 percent to 14,739. Those numbers are tracked in a separate category and aren’t included in overall unemployment figures.
Last week’s seasonally adjusted 199,000 applications for jobless benefits marked the lowest number since November 1969.
Employers added a robust 312,000 jobs in December. The jobs report for January is out Friday and is expected to show about 165,000 new hires.