July 14 (UPI) — The number of American workers filing for new unemployment benefits has increased to its highest level since last fall, the Labor Department said Thursday in its weekly update.
The number of first-time filings, the department said, rose to about 244,000 last week, which is the most recent period for which data is available. It represented week-to-week increase of 9,000.
The figure is the highest it’s been since last November and is close to the lowest post-COVID19 pandemic level, 256,000.
The number of new claims was higher than most economists predicted. They said they expected Thursday’s report to show a total of about 235,000 new claims.
First-time jobless filings have been around the 230,000 mark since last month and reached a contemporary low of 166,000 in March.
Thursday’s report also marked the ninth straight week that initial claims were above 200,000 and sixth consecutive week above 230,000.
The four-week moving average rose to about 235,700, a slight weekly increase, and the total number of all jobless claims was 1.3 million.
Earlier this month, the department reported that there were 372,000 new hirings during the month of June — far above the 250,000 that most analysts expected.