Applications for unemployment insurance in the U.S. last week plateaued near a five-month high, suggesting tightness in the labor market may be starting to ease.
Initial unemployment claims decreased by 2,000 to 229,000 in the week ended June 18, Labor Department data showed Thursday.
The prior week’s figure was revised up slightly. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 226,000 applications.
The jobless claims four-week moving average, a measure which smooths out some of the volatility in the series, increased to 223,500, the highest since late January.
While the labor market remains strong and unemployment low, there are some signs of softening.
Several companies, including JPMorgan Chase and Coinbase Global Inc., have announced layoffs in recent weeks.
Meantime, recession fears are growing after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by the most since 1994 and signaled further tightening in an effort to tame inflation.
On an unadjusted basis, initial claims also fell slightly. Applications decreased in Illinois and Florida, while increasing in Michigan.
Continuing claims for state benefits were also little changed at 1.32 million in the week ended June 11.
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