New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits rose last week but kept within the recent low range that suggests a modestly improving jobs market, according to official data released Wednesday.
Initial jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, increased by 21,000 to 313,000 in the week ending November 22, the Labor Department said. The prior week's level was upwardly revised to 292,000 from 291,000.
The four-week moving average of claims rose by 6,250 to 294,000, compared with 334,750 a year ago.
In early November the Labor Department reported another fall in the unemployment rate, to a six-year low of 5.8 percent in October, with job creation holding a pace above 200,000 a month for the ninth consecutive month.