The number of Americans claiming for unemployment benefits increased last week but remained at historically low levels, indicating that the labor market remains tight.

In the week ending March 26, the Labor Department reported 202,000 applications for first-time unemployment benefits.

This is a 14,000 rise over the previous week’s statistic, which was the lowest weekly rate since 1969.

READ MORE: US UNEMPLOYMENT DOWN IN JANUARY DESPITE END OF FURLOUGH SCHEME

For the week ending March 19, 1.3 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits, the lowest level since December 1969.

Because the labor market remains exceedingly competitive, most firms are hesitant to let go of their current employees.

Nancy Vanden Houten, lead U.S. economist at Oxford Economics stated last week’s figure “is still a low level of claims consistent with extremely tight labor market conditions.

She said: “We expect initial claims to remain around 200k or lower as employers, who continue to struggle to attract and retain workers, are likely to keep layoffs to a minimum.”

Employers added 678,000 jobs in February, the most since July, and the unemployment rate fell to a record low of 3.8 percent.

There were 11.3 million vacant positions last month, matching January’s tally but falling short of December’s record of 11.4 million, while the number of people departing their employment stayed around record levels.

Source: CBS News

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