The numbers: New filings for unemployment benefits jumped by 27,000 last week to five-month high of 229,000, but almost the entire increase appeared to stem from seasonal quirks instead of rising layoffs.
Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal forecast initial jobless claims to total 195,000 in the seven days ended June 4. The figures are seasonally adjusted.
Raw or actual jobless claims were little changed. They edged up to 184,604 from 183,596 in the prior week
Big picture: Hiring has slowed a bit this year compared to 2021 and a handful of large companies have announced hiring freezes or even some layoffs. Yet most businesses are still trying to fill a near-record number of open jobs.
How long that goes on is an open question.
The economy is likely to slow in the months ahead as the Federal Reserve moves to swiftly raise interest rates. And that could cause more companies to back off on hiring plans until they see how much the economy is affected.
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average
and S&P 500
were set to open slightly higher in Thursday trades.