Washington, Oct 7 (IANS): The number of people in the US applying for unemployment aid rose slightly last week after falling below the threshold of 400,000 a week earlier, Xinhua reported Thursday.
The Labor Department said that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits was 401,000 in the week ending Oct 1, marking an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised figure.
Having fewer than 425,000 people applying for aid is consistent with modest job growth, but the number of jobless claims will have to fall to 375,000 or below to signal a sustained drop in the unemployment rate, the department added.
However, the four-week moving average of jobless claims continued to decline during the Sep 25-Oct 1 week, down 4,000 from the previous week.
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Sep 24 was 3.7 million, a decrease of 52,000 from the week earlier.
Economists said last week's figure was a fresh sign that the job market recovery remained fragile and volatile.
In addition, the US private sector added only 91,000 jobs in September, reflecting the recent deceleration of economic activity, according to an employment report released Wednesday by Automatic Data Processing, Inc.
The weekly figures of jobless benefits application reflect the level of layoffs and indicate the real-time condition of the US job market.