April 25th, 2024

US applications for unemployment benefits rise, but layoffs remain at historically low levels

By Matt Ott, The Associated Press on April 4, 2024.

A sign seeking truck drivers is displayed at a business in Gary, Ind., Tuesday, March 26, 2024. On Thursday, April 4, 2024, the Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits rose last week but layoffs remain at historically low levels as the labor market continues to chug along despite elevated interest rates.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that filings for unemployment claims for the week ending March 30 climbed by 9,000 to 221,000 from the previous week’s 212,000.

The four-week average of claims, which evens out some of the weekly volatility, rose modestly to 214,250, an increase of 2,750 from the previous week.

In total, 1.79 million Americans were collecting jobless benefits during the week that ended March 23, a decline of 19,000 from the previous week.

Weekly unemployment claims are considered a proxy for the number of U.S. layoffs in a given week and a sign of where the job market is headed. They have remained at historically low levels since the pandemic purge of millions of jobs in the spring of 2020.

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