03/17/2016 08:42 EDT | Updated 03/18/2017 01:12 EDT

Applications for jobless aid rise but stay at healthy level

WASHINGTON — More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, but their numbers remained at low levels consistent with a healthy job market.

The Labor Department says the number of people seeking jobless aid rose by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 265,000. The less-volatile four-week average rose by 750 to 268,000.

Jobless claims are a proxy for layoffs. Weekly numbers below 300,000 are historically low.

The number of people collecting unemployment checks was 2.24 million, down nearly 7 per cent from a year earlier.

The U.S. labour market is healthy. Employers added 242,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate stayed at an eight-year low 4.9 per cent.

Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press