US filings for unemployment benefits rose by the most in six weeks while still hovering near historically low levels that indicate a tight job market, Labor Department figures showed on Thursday.
Jobless claims increased by 11,000 to 222,000, while continuing claims fell by 87,000 to 1,707,000 in the week ended May 5, the lowest since December 1973.
Even with the weekly increase, claims remain near the lowest in almost five decades, indicating the labor market remains robust.
Job openings reached a record high in March, and a widespread, persistent shortage of qualified workers is causing employers to retain staff, sometimes using bonuses and non-financial perks to keep people in key roles.
Economists may focus more on the latest results because they reflect the week containing the 12th of the month, which is the reference period for the Labor Department’s May jobs report due June 1.