The Department of Labor said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment had risen for the third consecutive week — a potential sign of a weakening economic outlook heading into the winter months.
The agency reported Thursday that 362,000 people filed for unemployment during the week ending Sept. 25. This number is still quite low compared to the previous 18 months. However, it marks a third consecutive rise at a time when officials believed that job numbers were stabilizing.
The weekly unemployment claims reached a peak in January 2021 at approximately 900,000. Although job growth has been strong since then, a third consecutive increase in unemployment claims may be a red flag for economists and policymakers.
The U.S. has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. As of August, the country was still experiencing a shortfall of 7 million jobs from pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.