U.S. jobless claims near 6-year low but up 1,000


WASHINGTON — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose 1,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 308,000 but was near six-year lows. Companies are cutting very few jobs, but the decline in layoffs has not been accompanied by a pickup in hiring.

The less volatile four-week average for applications fell to 305,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That is the lowest since May, 2007, seven months before the recession began.

Weekly applications could increase next week because of the partial government shutdown.