WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid rose again last week after hitting the lowest level in almost six years in the prior week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
In the week ending Aug. 17, the advance figure of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits climbed by 13,000 to 336,000 from a revised figure of 323,000 for the previous week.
But the four-week moving average, which helps smooth out week-to-week volatility, declined by 2,250 to 330,500, the fewest since November 2007, and stayed well below the benchmark level of 375,000, which indicates a sustained recovery in employment.
The advance figure of seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Aug. 10 stood at 2.999 million, up 29,000 from the previous week.
In July, the U.S. unemployment rate edged down to 7.4 percent, the lowest since December 2008, but the economy added 162,000 jobs in the month, slightly fewer than the average monthly gain of 189,000 over the prior 12 months.