US jobless claims filings highest since 2021, but job market remains healthy

A hiring sign is displayed at a retail store in Downers Grove, Ill., May 1. The Labor Department reported Thursday that applications for unemployment benefits for the week ending May 6 rose by 22,000 to 264,000.

A hiring sign is displayed at a retail store in Downers Grove, Ill., May 1. The Labor Department reported Thursday that applications for unemployment benefits for the week ending May 6 rose by 22,000 to 264,000. (Nam Y. Huh, Associated Press)


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WASHINGTON — The number of Americans filing for jobless claims last week rose to its highest level in a year-and-a-half, though the labor market remains healthy by historical standards.

Applications for unemployment benefits for the week ending May 6 rose by 22,000 to 264,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That's up from the previous week's 242,000 and the highest since November of 2021. The weekly claims numbers are seen as representative of the number of U.S. layoffs.

The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out some of the weekly volatility, rose by 6,000 to 245,250.

For the week of April 29, the total number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits rose by 12,000 from the previous week to 1.81 million.

American workers are enjoying unusual job security despite rising interest rates, economic uncertainty and fears of a looming recession.

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