More Americans signed up for unemployment benefits last week, but the broader trend in layoffs points to a slowly healing jobs market.
The Labor Department says new claims for unemployment aid rose last week by a seasonally adjusted 26,000 to 436,000. The previous week's claims were revised up slightly to show applications had tumbled by 31,000 to 410,000. The figures are often volatile during the weeks around the Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving holidays.
Even so, the longer-term trend has shown a downward drift.
The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths volatility, fell to 431,000 last week, a two-year low.