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The Number of Americans Filing for Jobless Benefits Jumps to the Highest Level in 10 Months

The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits jumped to the highest level in 10 months, a sign that the labor market is likely cooling under the weight of high interest rates.

Unemployment benefit applications for the week ending June 8 rose by 13,000 to 242,000, up from 229,000 the week before, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That’s significantly more than the 225,000 new claims analysts were expecting and the most since August of 2023.

The four-week average of claims, which softens some of the week-to-week volatility, rose to 227,000. That’s an increase of 4,750 from the previous week and the highest since September, but still less than the average one year ago.

Weekly unemployment claims are seen as a stand-in 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 millions of jobs vanished when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in the spring of 2020.

America’s employers added a strong 272,000 jobs in May, accelerating from April and a sign that companies are still confident enough in the economy to keep hiring despite persistently high interest rates.

But the recent report from the government included some signs of a potential slowdown. The unemployment rate edged up for a second straight month, to a still-low 4%, from 3.9%, ending a 27-month streak of unemployment below 4%. That streak had matched the longest such run since the late 1960s.

Source: Associated Press

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