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US jobless claims rose to 235,000 last week, most since mid-January

·2-min read

Initial jobless claims unexpectedly edged higher last week in a potential sign the labor market may be cooling amid tighter financial conditions. The print comes ahead of the government's monthly employment report for June due out Friday.

First-time filings for unemployment insurance in the U.S. totaled 235,000 for the week ended July 2, increasing by 4,000 from the prior week's reading of 231,000 claims, the Department of Labor said Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the latest figure to come in at 230,000.

The 4-week moving average, which smooths out some weekly volatility in the data, stood at 1,335,000 as of last week, an increase of 16,500 from the previous week's downwardly revised average of 1,318,500.

The rise in claims marked the highest weekly total since the week ended January 15, 2022 and comes as a growing number of companies across Corporate America announce hiring freezes and layoffs in anticipation of an economic downturn.

"We think the risk is that initial claims edge higher, but we don't look for a steep rise in claims from current levels," said Nancy Vanden Houten, lead US economist at Oxford Economics. "Reports of layoffs are increasing in some sectors, however demand for workers remains historically high."

Job losses in recent weeks have been most prevalent among the technology and real estate sectors. Hiring pauses, rescinded offers, and staff cuts have occurred among names including JPMorgan (JPM), Microsoft (MSFT), Tesla (TSLA), Coinbase (COIN), and real estate platforms (RDFN) and Compass (COMP).

The Labor Department’s June monthly jobs report due out Friday will offer a more comprehensive gauge of how the labor market is holding up against inflation, higher interest rates, and growing concern about a recession.

The report, due out at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday morning, is expected to show 275,000 jobs were created last month, according to data from Bloomberg.

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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