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Unemployment claims surge to five-week high

Jobless claims surged to a five-week high, the Department of Labor said Thursday. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/abe11e15436e3088112cdd349cbde4c1/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Jobless claims surged to a five-week high, the Department of Labor said Thursday. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 6 (UPI) -- The number of people applying for unemployment benefits jumped to a five-week high of 219,000, according to numbers released by the Department of Labor on Thursday.

The jump to 219,000 is higher than what had been predicted by economists queried by Wall Street Journal, who had forecasted 203,000 new claims for the seven days ending Saturday. The increase in unemployment claims is usually seen as a barometer of a worsening economy.

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Most of the new claims came from a few states, such as Missouri and Massachusetts. Puerto Rico also saw a jump after Hurricane Fiona devastated the island.

The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits, meanwhile, rose by 15,000 to 1.36 million, according to MarketWatch. They remain near a 50-year low, however.

The Fed has predicted the jobless rate will climb to 4.4% by the end of 2023 from the current level of 3.7%. It continues to raise interest rates as a way to fight ongoing inflation.

While this week's numbers are high, last week's numbers were just 193,000. That marked the first time since May that the number dropped below 200,000.

The news comes as job openings in the United States plunged in August to their lowest levels since 2020, as the Federal Reserve continues to see to lower demand for workers.

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