By Rina Torchinsky

New applications for unemployment benefits inched down last week, a sign the labor market is holding up as the broader economy shows signs of slowing.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, declined slightly to a seasonally adjusted 250,000 last week from a downwardly revised 252,000 the week before, the Labor Department said Thursday. Claims totals have hovered around this level since hitting a high for the year in mid-July, and are above the 2019 prepandemic weekly average of 218,000.

The four-week moving average for claims, which irons out weekly volatility, was 246,750, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average.

Sarah House, senior economist at Wells Fargo, said the labor market is strong but is showing signs of softening. "We are starting to see demand for labor weaken," Ms. House said. "You can see that in terms of things like job postings for new hires but also seeing that in terms of the rise of initial jobless claims."

Continuing claims, a proxy for the total number of people receiving payments from state unemployment programs, edged up to 1,437,000 in the week ended Aug. 6 from a revised 1,430,000 in the week ended July 30. Continuing claims are reported with a one-week lag.

Write to Rina Torchinsky at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 18, 2022 09:07 ET (13:07 GMT)

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