Updated at: 09/14/2017 11:33 AM
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
(AP) WASHINGTON - WASHINGTON (AP) â€” The number of people seeking unemployment benefits declined slightly last week but still remained elevated as hurricane disruptions affected layoffs for a second week.
The Labor Department says applications for jobless benefits dropped by 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 284,000 last week after surging to 298,000 the previous week, the highest level in two years. The four-week average for claims rose to 263,250, the highest level in a year.
Applications from Texas, recovering from Hurricane Harvey, totaled 51,988 last week, down by 11,800 from the previous week, but still far above the normal range of around 12,000 applications filed weekly in Texas.
Economists closely watch unemployment claims, which serve as a proxy for layoffs. Even with recent increases, claims remain at levels signifying a strong labor market.
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