U.S. initial jobless claims rise to 230k as continuing claims hit 11-month high

December 8, 2022 8:52 AM EST

By Geoffrey Smith -- The number of people in the U.S. claiming jobless benefits continued its gentle rise last week, adding to evidence that the labor market is cooling - if only slowly.

Initial jobless claims rose to 230,000 last week from 226,000 the week before, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Thursday. That took the rolling average for initial claims over the last four weeks up to 230,000 - the highest it's been since September.

Weekly claims data tend to be volatile around the Thanksgiving Holiday period, making the 4-week number a more reliable indicator of the trend.

The BLS's weekly update also showed fresh evidence that hiring - at least in some sectors of the economy - may be slowing down. Continuing claims for benefits rose unexpectedly to 1.671 million, the highest level since January.

The figures appear unlikely to change the Federal Reserve's opinion that further interest rate rises will be needed to take the heat out of a labor market where unemployment is still at a historically low level while there are still over 1.7 vacancies for every unemployed person.

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