Unemployment Aid Applications Up 2nd Straight Week

WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose for the second straight week, a sign the hiring market is recovering at a slow and uneven pace.

The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment benefits rose 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 402,000. Applications had been below 400,000 for three straight weeks.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, ticked up to 395,750. The average fell to a seven-month low two weeks ago. Weekly applications had been declining for two months.

Still, applications would need to stay below 375,000 consistently to push down the unemployment rate significantly. They haven't been at that level since February.