By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com -- The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the U.S. lurched up last week, threatening to break a three-month trend of falling claims that had created an impression of exceptional labor market strength.
Initial jobless claims rose by 29,000 from a downwardly revised 190,000 to hit 219,000, their highest in five weeks, the Labor Department said.
Continuing claims also rose for the first time in five weeks, to 1.361 million from 1.346 million. Analysts had expected them to be roughly unchanged.
Earlier, consultancy group Challenger, Gray & Christmas had published what looked like much clearer evidence of the labor market cooling off. Its monthly survey of job cuts from a representative cross-section of companies showed a big rise in layoffs to 29,989, leaving it up 67.6% from a year ago .
Challenger's data are consistent with anecdotal reports of layoffs across the retail and technology sectors over a summer in which many companies have been forced to retrench, having been caught out by a surge in inflation that that has hit demand for their products and services.
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