US jobless benefits applications rose last week, but only slightly 

According to the Associated Press, the number of Americans applying for jobless benefits jumped last week, but not enough to raise concern about the consistently strong U.S. labor market.

U.S. applications for unemployment benefits rose by 21,000 to 248,000 for the week ending Aug. 5, from 227,000 the week before, the Labor Department reported today. That’s the most in five weeks. The four-week moving average of claims, a less volatile reading, ticked up by 2,750 to 228,250.

Jobless claim applications are viewed as broadly representative of the number of layoffs in a given week.

Last week, the Labor Department reported that U.S. employers added 187,000 jobs in July, fewer than expected, but still a healthy number. The unemployment rate dipped to 3.5%, close to a half-century low.

Also last week, the government reported that job openings fell below 9.6 million in June, the lowest in more than two years. However, the numbers remain unusually robust considering monthly job openings never topped 8 million before 2021.

Outside of a flurry of layoffs in the technology sector early this year, companies have mostly been retaining workers.