The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week rose to its highest level since October 2021, but the labor market remains one of the healthiest parts of the U.S. economy.
The Labor Department reported today that U.S. applications for jobless claims were 261,000 for the week ending June 3, an increase of 28,000 from the previous week’s 233,000. Weekly jobless claims are considered representative of U.S. layoffs.
The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out some of the weekly variations, rose by 7,500 to 237,250.
Overall, 1.76 million people were collecting unemployment benefits the week that ended May 27, about 37,000 fewer than the previous week.
The U.S. economy has added jobs at a furious rate since the pandemic purge of more than 20 million jobs in the spring of 2020. Americans have enjoyed unusual job security, despite the Federal Reserve’s aggressive campaign to cool the economy and labor market in its bid to stifle persistent, decades-high inflation.