The Labor Department said in its weekly update on Thursday that the new four-week moving average for first-time unemployment claims is 252,000 -- which is still lower than prepandemic levels. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 11 (UPI) -- The number of U.S. workers filing new unemployment claims has risen to its highest point since last fall, but analysts say the job market continues to show signs of strength.
The Labor Department said in its weekly update on Thursday that first-time jobless claims rose to 262,000 last week, which is the most recent data available. That's an increase of 14,000 filings over the previous week.
Weekly initial unemployment claims have now risen in five out of the last six weeks. The last time the figure was higher than 262,000 was mid-November of 2021, when there were 268,000 new filings.
Thursday's update also marked the 13th straight week that new claims topped the 200,000 mark. Initial filings had declined to a low of 166,000 in the middle of March.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the new four-week moving average is 252,000 -- which is still lower than prepandemic levels.
For comparison, there were more than 400,000 new unemployment claims during the second week of August in 2021.
Some experts say, however, that 262,000 new claims demonstrate the strength of the U.S. labor market. To be at such a historically low level in an atmosphere of hot-running inflation and meager economic growth is significant, they note.
Thursday's report came a day after the Commerce Department said that there was no change in inflation from June to July, when most analysts expected an increase of 0.2%. The year-to-year rise in prices last month was 8.5%, which was down from over the annual 9% rise the previous month.
Activist and comedian John Stewart hugs Sri Benson, whose wife, Katie, was an Army medic who died from toxic exposure, during a signing ceremony for the PACT Act on Wednesday at the White House. The bill expands healthcare benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo