WASHINGTON (AP) - Applications for unemployment benefits totaled 311,000 last week, unchanged from the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The fact that claims remained at the same level was better than the small increase analysts had been expecting and supported their view that the job market has held up remarkably well in the face of a yearlong economic slowdown.
Claims have fallen in six of the past nine weeks. Those declines followed a period of rising claims which had raised fears that the slowing economy was starting to trigger higher layoffs.
For the week ending June 2, when claims had posted a small rise of 2,000, there were 29 states and territories reporting increases in claims and 24 reporting declines. The state figures are not adjusted for seasonal variations.
The biggest increase occurred in Georgia, a rise of 1,101 that was attributed to higher layoffs in the mobile home industry. The biggest decline in claims occurred in California, down 6,948, attributed to fewer layoffs in service industries. Texas had a drop of 1,916 and New Jersey saw claims fall by 1,668.