US unemployment claims inched higher, but remain very low

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Hiring sign is displayed in Northbrook, Ill., Sept. 21, 2022. The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week and remains historically low even as the U.S. economy slows in the midst of decades-high inflation. Jobless claims for the week ending Oct. 15 declined by 12,000 to 214,000 from 226,000 last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Slightly more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, as the labor market remains one of the healthiest parts of an uneven U.S. economy.

Jobless claims for the week ending Oct. 22 inched up by 3,000 to 217,000 from 214,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The four-week moving average rose to 219,000 from 212,250 the previous week.

Applications for jobless claims, considered a proxy for layoffs, have remained historically low even as the Federal Reserve has cranked up its benchmark borrowing rate in an effort to cool the economy and tame inflation.

The total number of Americans collecting unemployment aid rose by 55,000 to 1.44 million for the week ending Oct. 15, its highest level in seven months.

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