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Weekly US jobless claims rise for the first time in a month

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans applied for employment benefits last week following three straight weeks of declines. Jobless claims rose by 23,000 to 248,000 last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
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FILE - Marriott human resources recruiter Mariela Cuevas, left, talks to Lisbet Oliveros, during a job fair at Hard Rock Stadium, Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Last month, U.S. employers might have shed jobs for the first time in about a year, potentially raising alarms about the economy’s trajectory. Yet even if the January employment report coming Friday, Feb. 3, 2022, were to show a deep loss of jobs, there would be little mystery about the likely culprit: A wave of omicron wave of infections that led millions of workers to stay home sick, discouraged consumers from venturing out to spend and likely froze hiring at many companies — even those that want to fill jobs. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans applied for employment benefits last week following three straight weeks of declines.

Jobless claims rose by 23,000 to 248,000 last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Claims were revised up to 225,000 the previous week.

The four-week average for claims, which compensates for weekly volatility, fell by 10,500 to 243,250. It was the second straight week of declines after rising for five straight weeks as the omicron variant of the coronavirus spread, disrupting business in many parts of the U.S.

In total, fewer than 1.6 million Americans were collecting jobless aid the week that ended Feb. 5, a decrease of about 26,000 from the previous week.

Matt Ott, The Associated Press