WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The number of U.S. people initially applying for unemployment aid last week rose back after falling below 400,000 a week earlier, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.
The Department said that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits was 408,000 in the week ending Aug. 13, an increase of 9,000 from the previous week's revised figure.
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.
However, the four-week moving average, which more closely watched claims figure, was down to 402,500, a decrease of 3,500 from the previous week.
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Aug. 6 was 3.702 million, an increase of 7,000 from one week earlier.
The U.S. unemployment rate edged down to 9.1 percent in July from 9.2 percent in June. However, the nonfarm sector only added 117,000 new jobs in the month, far short of the 200,000 monthly level that economists believe was robust enough to slash the unemployment rate over the long run.
The weekly figures of jobless benefits application reflect the level of layoffs and indicate real-time condition of American job market.