June 20th, 2024

Slightly more Americans apply for jobless benefits, but layoffs remain at healthy levels

By Matt Ott, The Associated Press on June 6, 2024.

A hiring sign is displayed at a gas station in Vernon Hills, Ill., Monday, June 3, 2024. On Thursday, June 6, 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 claims rose last week, but layoffs remain at healthy levels despite lingering inflation and high interest rates.

Unemployment benefit applications for the week ending June 1 rose by 8,000 to 229,000, up from 221,000 the week before, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The four-week average of claims, which offsets some of the week-to-week gyrations, fell to 222,250, a small decline of 750 from the previous week.

In total, 1.79 million Americans were collecting jobless benefits during the week that ended May 25, an increase of 2,000.

Weekly unemployment claims are seen as a stand-in 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 millions of jobs vanished when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in the spring of 2020.

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