WASHINGTON -- Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits ticked up slightly last week, the latest sign of stability in the job market.
The Labor Department says applications rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 371,000, the most in five weeks. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 6,750 to 365,750, after falling to a four-year low the previous week.
A department spokesman says all states reported data and none were estimated. In the previous two weeks, many states were estimated because they weren't able to report data over the holidays.
Weekly applications are a proxy for layoffs. They have fluctuated for most of the past 12 months between 360,000 and 390,000. At the same time, employers added an average of 153,000 jobs a month in 2012, the same as in 2011.
CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER
AP Economics Writer
The Associated Press