First-Time Unemployment Claims, Overall Jobless Benefit Claims Rising Slightly

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment assistance inched up last week in what has been a strong labor market the last several months.

It wasn’t much, but it was an increase.

According to statistics released Thursday by the U.S. Labor Department, the number of first-time unemployment claims rose by 6,000 in the week ending July 30, climbing to 260,000 from the previous week.

The four-week average for claims, which evens out the weekly ups and downs, also rose from the previous week, to 254,750, the Associated Press reported.

The total number of U.S. workers collecting unemployment made a more significant jump, climbing by some 48,000 from the week before, settling at just over 1.4 million, the Labor Department said.

The Labor Department had said earlier in the week that employers had posted fewer job openings – 10.7 million in June, down from 11.3 million in May – in the face of still-rising inflation rates.

Economists expect the unemployment rate to hold at 3.6% for the fifth straight month, the AP reported.

Though the labor market is still considered strong, there have been some high-profile layoffs announced recently by Tesla, Netflix, Carvana, Redfin and Coinbase. A host of other companies, particularly in the tech sector, have announced hiring freezes.