WASHINGTON – More Americans filed for jobless benefits last week, but layoffs remain historically low despite attempts by the Federal Reserve to cool the economy, and hiring, to bring down inflation.
Applications for jobless aid in the U.S. for the week ending Feb. 4 rose by 13,000 last week to 196,000, from 183,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It's the fourth straight week claims were under 200,000.
Jobless claims generally serve as a proxy for layoffs, which have been relatively low since the pandemic wiped out millions of jobs in the spring of 2020.
The four-week moving average of claims, which flattens out some of the week-to-week volatility, fell by 2,500 to 189,250. It's the third straight week that the four-week moving average has been below 200,000 and the ninth straight weekly decline.
About 1.66 million people were receiving jobless aid the week that ended Jan. 28, an increase of 38,000 from the week before.