WASHINGTON (AP) – More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week and while layoffs remain low, it was the fifth consecutive week that claims topped the 230,000 mark and the most in almost six months.
Applications for jobless aid for the week ending July 2 rose to 235,000, up 4,000 from the previous week and the most since mid-January, the United States (US) Labor Department reported yesterday.
First-time applications generally track with the number of layoffs.
Until early June, claims hadn’t eclipsed 220,000 since January and have often been below 200,000 this year.
The four-week average for claims, which evens out some of the week-to-week volatility, inched up by 750 from the previous week, to 232,500.
The total number of Americans collecting jobless benefits for the week ending June 25 rose by 51,000 from the previous week, to 1,375,000. That figure has hovered near 50-year lows for months.
On Wednesday, the US Labor Department reported that employers advertised fewer jobs in May amid signs that the economy is weakening, though the overall demand for workers remained strong.