February 28th, 2024

More Americans apply for unemployment benefits but layoffs still historically low

By Matt Ott, The Associated Press on February 1, 2024.

The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits rose last week to the highest level in 11 weeks, though layoffs remain at historically low levels.

Applications for unemployment benefits climbed to 224,000 for the week ending Jan. 27, an increase of 9,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The four-week average of claims, a less volatile measure, rose by 5,250, to 207,750.

Weekly unemployment claims are seen as a proxy for the number of U.S. layoffs in a given week. They have remained at extraordinarily low levels despite efforts by the U.S. Federal Reserve to cool the economy.

Overall, 1.9 million Americans were collecting jobless benefits during the week that ended Jan. 20, an increase of 70,000 from the previous week. That’s the most since mid-November.

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