Initial claims for unemployment climbed slightly last week but continue to remain close to a pandemic-era low, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The report showed that first-time filings for unemployment benefits hit 353,000 for the week ended Aug. 14, a slight increase from the previous week’s 349,000 claims and ahead of the 350,000 estimate. The number remains close to the lowest average reached since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

When adjusted, the number of Americans with insured unemployment dropped by 3,000 to 2,862,000 for the week of Aug. 14. This compares favorably with the previous low at the start of the pandemic when it was only 1,770,000 on March 14, 2020.

In terms of Americans who were receiving benefits under state programs, the number fell from where it was the prior week. BLS data showed the latest number to be at 2,763,176, which is 1.6% lower than the previous week. This number slightly beat a projected 1.5% drop when adjusted for seasonal factors.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance stood at 117,709 initial claims from 43 states. The highest insured unemployment rates for the week ending Aug. 7 were in Puerto Rico, Illinois, New Jersey, California, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, Nevada, and the Virgin Islands.

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Aug. 14 came from Virginia, New Mexico, the District of Columbia, Georgia, and Nevada, while the largest decreases were in Texas, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Massachusetts.

According to CNBC, separate data from the Commerce Department showed that the U.S. gross domestic product saw slight growth. The economic reading showed that GDP increased at a 6.6% annualized pace, just below the 6.7% Dow Jones estimate that was expected.

These numbers were released as Federal Reserve officials gather and speak by video with their global counterparts at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for an annual meeting. How they will factor into Fed chairman Jerome Powell’s update on where the central bank’s policy will stand tomorrow is uncertain.