Recurring applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose for a seventh straight week, adding to evidence that the labor market is cooling.
Continuing jobless claims, a proxy for the number of people receiving unemployment benefits, increased to 1.83 million in the week ended Oct. 28, the highest since mid-April, according to Labor Department data out Thursday.
Initial claims ticked lower to 217,000 in the week ending Nov. 4. The four-week moving average, which smooths out some of the volatility in the weekly data, rose to 212,250.
The recent pickup in continuing claims suggests unemployed workers are increasingly having a harder time finding new jobs. Demand for workers is retreating from unprecedented pandemic levels and the unemployment rate now stands at the highest level in nearly two years.
On an unadjusted basis, initial claims rose to 213,132. Filings increased the most in California and New York, and fell in Oregon. Unadjusted continuing claims for the latest reporting week saw the biggest increases in California, Michigan and Washington.
Economists expect the labor market to gradually cool going forward, and that is already translating into higher anxiety among workers. With interest rates now at a the highest levels in more than two decades, some employers are starting to scale back their hiring plans, while others are cutting positions altogether.