By PAUL WISEMAN
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose to the highest level since August but still remained low by historic standards. The Labor Department reported Wednesday that 240,000 people applied for jobless aid last week, up by 17,000 from the week before. The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, rose by 5,500 to 226,750. Applications for unemployment benefits are a proxy for layoffs and the current low levels shows that American workers enjoy extraordinary job security.