WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose slightly last week, yet remained at a low level consistent with a solid job market.

WASHINGTON (AP) The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose slightly last week, yet remained at a low level consistent with a solid job market.

The Labor Department says weekly unemployment applications climbed 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 277,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 5,500 to 271,500.

Applications, which are a proxy for layoffs, are near the lowest levels in 15 years. Two weeks ago, the four-week average dropped to its lowest point since April 2000. That is a sign that employers are confident enough in the economy's future growth to hold onto their staffs.

The number of people receiving aid fell 24,000 to 2.25 million. That is 10.5 percent below the level one year ago. Many former recipients have found jobs, while others have exhausted their benefits.