Applications for U.S. unemployment insurance fell, though remained near January levels, suggesting that labor market conditions are moderating.
Initial unemployment claims decreased by 2,000 to 231,000 in the week ended June 25, Labor Department data showed Thursday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 230,000 applications.
Continuing claims for state benefits fell slightly to 1.33 million in the week ended June 18.
Jobless claims have been hovering in the 230,000 range for the past four weeks, a level not seen since the beginning of the year when the Omicron variant was at its peak. Demand for labor is expected to weaken further as interest rates rise and firms anticipate a potential recession.
In the past week, companies including Netflix Inc. and Tesla Inc. have laid off hundreds of employees amid concerns about the economic outlook.
The jobless claims four-week moving average, a measure which smooths out some of the volatility in the series, has risen in 11 of the last 12 weeks, and now stands at 231,750.
On an unadjusted basis, initial claims rose to 207,421 last week. That reflected large increases in New Jersey and Massachusetts, while applications in Texas and Georgia declined.
A separate report Thursday showed U.S. inflation-adjusted consumer spending fell in May for the first time this year as persistent price pressures batter household budgets.