The number of Americans filing jobless claims rose to 286,000 this week, marking the highest total since last fall.
On Thursday, the United States Department of Labor released the latest data regarding weekly unemployment insurance claims for the country.
The number of claims rose to 286,000 during the week ending January 15. This marked a 55,000 person increase over the previous week, and the highest total since October 2021.
As the Department of Labor points out, these numbers are "seasonally adjusted" to take into consideration "seasonal changes in weather, major holidays, the opening and closing of schools, or other similar events."
The unadjusted number of claims for the week ending January 15 was 337,417, which was notably a 19.8% decrease from the previous week's total of 420,835. That being said, the department had predicted that the decrease would be 33%, leading them to adjust the figures accordingly
The four-week average rose by 20,000 to 231,000, the highest total since November.
According to the Associated Press, analysts are suggesting that these numbers should be watched carefully, adding that if claims remain high, the Federal Reserve may opt not to begin easing the support it's provided thus far during the pandemic.
The rise in unemployment claims has been brought on by many factors, including most prominently the surge of COVID-19 cases brought on by the Omicron variant. The new strain has put a damper on what was expected to be a time of economic resurgence in the country.