(NEWSnet/AP) — The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits rose to their highest level in two months last week.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that filings for unemployment claims for the week ending March 30 climbed by 9,000 to 221,000 from the previous week’s 212,000.

The four-week average of claims, which evens out some of the weekly volatility, rose modestly to 214,250, an increase of 2,750 from the previous week.

In total, 1.79 million Americans were collecting jobless benefits during the week that ended March 23, a decline of 19,000 from the previous week.

Weekly unemployment claims are considered a proxy for the number of U.S. layoffs in a given week and a sign of where the job market is headed. They have remained at historically low levels since the pandemic purge of millions of jobs in the spring of 2020.

The March jobs report comes out on Friday.

Though layoffs remain at low levels, there has been an uptick in job cuts recently, mostly across technology and media. Google parent company Alphabet, eBay, TikTok, Snap, Amazon, Cisco Systems and the Los Angeles Times have all recently announced layoffs.

Outside of tech and media, UPS, Macy’s and Levi Strauss also have recently cut jobs.

Follow NEWSnet on Facebook and X platform to get our headlines in your social feeds.

Copyright 2024 NEWSnet and The Associated Press. All rights reserved.