WASHINGTON (AP) — More people applied for unemployment benefits last week, evidence that layoffs are rising and the job market is weak.

Applications for unemployment benefits rose by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 418,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dipped to 421,250.

Applications have topped 400,000 for 15 straight weeks, a sign of sluggish hiring. Applications had fallen in February to 375,000, a level that signals healthy job growth. They stayed below 400,000 for two months. But applications surged to an eight-month high of 478,000 in April and have declined slowly since then.

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