May 17th, 2024

US weekly jobless claims rise to highest level since August of 2023

By Matt Ott, The Associated Press on May 9, 2024.

A hiring sign is displayed at a restaurant in Glenview, Ill., Thursday, May 2, 2024. On Thursday, May 9, 2024, the Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits jumped to its highest level in more than eight months last week in another sign that the labor market may be softening.

Unemployment claims for the week ending May 4 rose by 22,000 to 231,000, up from 209,000 the week before, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Last week’s claims were the most since the final week of August 2023.

The four-week average of claims, which softens some of the weekly volatility, rose by 4,750 to 215,000.

In total, 1.79 million Americans were collecting jobless benefits during the week that ended April 27. That’s up 17,000 from the previous week.

Weekly unemployment claims are considered a proxy for the number of U.S. layoffs in a given week and a sign of where the job market is headed. They have remained at historically low levels since the pandemic purge of millions of jobs in the spring of 2020.

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