WASHINGTON (October 3, 2012)--The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 367,000, a level consistent with only modest hiring, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.
The Labor Department said applications increased last week by 4,000 from the previous week's level of 363,000, which was revised higher from an initial 359,000.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, was unchanged last week at 375,000.
Unemployment benefit applications are a measure of the pace of layoffs.
When they consistently fall below 375,000, it typically indicates that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.
Applications have mostly stayed near or above that level since the spring, coinciding with a weak stretch of hiring.
The government will release its report on September unemployment on Friday.