Dick Young

The number of initial jobless claims reported has surprised forecasters to the high side again this week, with claims reported coming in at 262,000. That’s the same as last week’s number and above the 245,000 that forecasters expected. MarketWatch’s Jeffry Bartash reports:

The numbers: The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits last week was unchanged at 262,000, leaving it at the highest level since October 2021 and pointing to some emerging softness in a muscular U.S. labor market.

Unemployment claims typically begin to rise when the economy is deteriorating and a recession is approaching. They’ve increased since the beginning of the year but are still extremely low.

Key details: Of the 53 U.S. states and territories that report jobless claims, 39 showed an increase last week. The remaining 15 posted small declines of a few hundred or less.

The most recent reports shows other large states such as Texas and Pennsylvania joining Ohio and California in reporting higher claims in the past few weeks. It doesn’t appear to be a case of fraud like it was in Massachusetts during the spring.