The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week rose to its highest level since October 2021, but the labor market remains one of the healthiest parts of the U.S. economy, according to an Associated Press report.
The Labor Department reported Thursday that U.S. applications for jobless claims were 261,000 for the week ending June 3, an increase of 28,000 from the previous week’s 233,000. Weekly jobless claims are considered representative of U.S. layoffs.
The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out some of the weekly variations, rose by 7,500 to 237,250.
Despite last week’s sharp increase in filings for unemployment aid, some analysts cautioned against concluding that layoffs are picking up across the economy. They noted that the weekly figures are prone to revision and that last week’s numbers might have been distorted by the three-day Memorial Day weekend.
“The latest reading reflects a holiday-shortened week (Memorial Day), which ought to raise suspicions that the big move was more noise than signal,” said Stephen Stanley, chief U.S. economist for Santander. “I am eager to see next week’s reading before I draw any conclusions.”