By MATT OTT
AP Business Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for jobless aid ticked up slightly last week but the total number of Americans collecting benefits remained at its lowest level in more than five decades. Applications for unemployment benefits rose by 1,000 to 203,000 for the week ending May 7, the Labor Department reported Thursday. First-time applications generally track the number of layoffs. The total number of Americans collecting jobless benefits for the week ending April 30 fell by 44,000 from the previous week to 1,343,000. That’s the fewest since January 3, 1970. American workers are enjoying historically strong job security two years after the coronavirus pandemic plunged the economy into a brief but devastating recession.