New jobless claimants in the United States rose last week to the highest number of claims since November, hinting at a cooling in the labor market.
There were 262,000 initial jobless claims on a seasonally adjusted basis in the week to Aug. 6, according to U.S. Labor Department data released Thursday. That was slightly below economists’ expectations for 263,000 claims, but it was the highest number so far this year.
The previous week was revised down from 260,000 to 248,000 claims.
Thursday’s report showed the pace of new claims increased the most in California, Texas, New York, Massachusetts and Ohio, based on unadjusted preliminary numbers.
Many companies have announced layoffs in recent weeks after announcing mixed quarterly results. E-commerce retailer Shopify recently said it would cut 10% of its workforce over fears that inflation and high interest rates could dampen consumer spending.
Brokerage Robinhood also recently announced layoffs, saying it would cut its workforce by 23% due to an “extremely difficult macroeconomic environment”.
“Weaker labor market dynamics pose an upside risk to compensation claims in the weeks ahead,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, chief US economist at Oxford Economics. “However, we do not expect a sharp rise in unemployment as demand for labor continues to outstrip supply and the economy remains on a positive, albeit modest, growth path.”
Continuing jobless claims, which measure the number of Americans actively receiving unemployment assistance, were 1.43 million in the week to July 30, up slightly from the revised figure of 1.42 million in the previous week.