(WASHINGTON) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits for the first time reached its highest rate in eight months last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. 

Applications reached 251,000 for the week ending July 16 — an increase of 7,000 from the week before. This was the third consecutive week of increased first-time numbers. 

First-time applications generally reflect layoffs.

The total number of Americans receiving jobless benefits also grew. For the week ending July 9, 1,384,000 Americans were collecting benefits, up 51,000 from the previous week.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 372,000 jobs created in June. President Joe Biden had then cautioned job growth would likely slow down in coming months.

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