Jobless claims rise to 282,000, highest since July

Applications for unemployment benefits rose by 13,000 to 282,000 in the first week of December, the Department of Labor reported Thursday morning.

That is the highest level for first-time claims since the first week of July. Private-sector economists polled by Bloomberg had expected initial claims to hover around 270,000.

Claims however, remain very low overall. The monthly average for first-time claims, which are adjusted for seasonal fluctuations, rose by 1,500 to 270,750, still a level not seen before this summer since the turn of the century.

Weekly jobless claims are see as a high-frequency gauge of labor market health, with fewer claims signifying fewer layoffs.

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