US weekly requests for jobless aid up 10K, to 244,000

WASHINGTON (AP) More Americans applied for jobless aid last week, though the number of people seeking benefits remains near historic lows.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly unemployment applications rose by 10,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 244,000. It was the largest weekly increase since late May. The less volatile four-week average was unchanged at 244,000.

Applications closely reflect layoffs. Jobless claims have come in below 300,000 for 125 weeks in a row. That's the longest such stretch since 1970, when the U.S. population was much smaller.

Employers have hired this year at a slower pace as the unemployment rate has fallen to a healthy 4.4 percent. The government's report for June showed U.S. employers added a robust 222,000 jobs, the most in four months.