Jobless Claims Climb to 239,000, Highest Since January 2022

Shot of a young businesswoman looking stressed out in an office
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The number of Americans making initial claims for jobless benefits rose last week, indicating some slow-motion progress in the Federal Reserve’s campaign to lower demand for U.S. labor.

Initial claims rose by 11,000 to 239,000 for the week ending on April 8, inching above the Wall Street estimate of 235,000, according to data released by the Department of Labor on Thursday. The previous week was unrevised at 228,000.

This is the highest level of initial claims since January 2022.

Claims can be volatile week-to-week so many economists look to the four-week average of claims to detect underlying trends in employment. The average moved up 2,500 to 240,000, the highest level since November of 2021.

Despite the rise in initial claims, continuing claims fell by 13,000 in the week ending April 1 to 1.81 million. The four-week moving average was 1,813,500, up 9,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average. This is the highest level for this average since November 13, 2021 when it was 2,007,000.

The Department of Labor recently revised its seasonal adjustments to remove some of the modifications to the jobless claims estimates put in place to offset distortions caused by the pandemic. As a result, claims were revised higher, generally showing that they have been above 200,000 for most of this year. The previous estimates showed claims had been lower than that level.



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