Number of Americans applying for jobless aid rises, but not enough to cause concern

The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits jumped last week, but not enough to raise concern about the consistently strong U.S. labor market.

U.S. applications for unemployment benefits rose by 21,000 to 248,000 for the week ending August 5, from 227,000 the week before, the Labor Department reported today. That’s the most in five weeks.

The four-week moving average of claims, a less volatile reading, ticked up by 2,750 to 228,250.

Jobless claim applications are viewed as broadly representative of the number of layoffs in a given week.

Overall, 1.68 million people were collecting unemployment benefits the week that ended July 29, about 8,000 fewer than the previous week.