By Harriet Torry

New applications for unemployment benefits rose last week in the latest sign of a cooling labor market, although they remained close to prepandemic lows.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, increased to a seasonally adjusted 219,000 last week from a revised 190,000 the week before, the Labor Department said Thursday.

That was the highest level since late August but close to the 2019 average of 218,000.

Claims have hovered around that prepandemic average for most of this year.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had estimated that claims rose 203,000 in the week ended Oct. 1.

The four-week moving average, which smooths out weekly volatility, was nearly unchanged at 206,500.

Continuing claims, a proxy for the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment benefits, increased to 1.36 million in the week ended Sept. 24 from 1.35 million a week earlier. Continuing claims are reported with a one-week lag.

The U.S. jobs market remains strong but has shown some recent signs of softening. Employers pulled back sharply on job openings in August, leaving openings at their lowest level in a year, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Layoffs also rose slightly. Employers added 315,000 jobs that month, compared with 526,000 jobs in July.

The Labor Department will release its September employment report on Friday. Economists surveyed by The Journal estimated that payrolls grew by 275,000 jobs in September.

Write to Harriet Torry at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 06, 2022 09:09 ET (13:09 GMT)

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