U.S. Jobless Claims Rise To 235K, Most In Nearly 6 Months

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U.S. Jobless Claims Rise To 235K, Most In Nearly 6 Months
Applications for unemployment benefits for the week ending July 2 rose by 4,000 from the previous week, according to the Labor Department.

More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, and while layoffs remain low, it was the fifth consecutive week that claims topped the 230,000 mark and the most in almost six months.

Applications for jobless aid for the week ending July 2 rose to 235,000, up 4,000 from the previous week and the most since mid-January, the Labor Department reported Thursday. First-time applications generally track with the number of layoffs. Until early June, claims hadn't eclipsed 220,000 since January and have often been below 200,000 this year.

The four-week average for claims, which evens out some of the week-to-week volatility, inched up by 750 from the previous week, to 232,500.

The total number of Americans collecting jobless benefits for the week ending June 25 rose by 51,000 from the previous week, to 1,375,000. That figure has hovered near 50-year lows for months.

On Wednesday, the Labor Department reported that U.S. employers advertised fewer jobs in May amid signs that the economy is weakening, though the overall demand for workers remained strong.

Employers posted 11.3 million job openings at the end of May, down from nearly 11.7 million in April. Job openings reached 11.9 million in March, the highest level on records dating back more than 20 years. There are nearly two job openings for every unemployed person.

The figures reflect the unusual nature of the post-pandemic economy: Inflation is hammering household budgets, forcing consumers to pull back on spending, and growth is weakening, heightening fears the economy could fall into recession. Yet companies are still scrambling to add workers. Demand has been particularly strong in travel- and entertainment-related services.

The Labor Department releases its June jobs report on Friday and analysts expect that employers filled more than 276,000 jobs. Though not an unhealthy number, it would be the lowest monthly figure in more than a year.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.