Weekly US jobless claims highest since 2021, but companies avoid risk of being caught short-handed

The number of Americans filing for jobless claims last week rose to its highest level in a year-and-a-half, though the labor market remains healthy by historical standards. Applications for unemployment benefits for the week ending May 6 rose by 22,000 to 264,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That’s up from the previous week’s 242,000 and the highest since November of 2021. It’s also about 20,000 more than analysts were expecting. The weekly claims numbers are seen as representative of the number of U.S. layoffs. Though the labor market remains broadly healthy, the effects of the Fed’s interest rate hikes may be starting to take hold.