Job growth in the U.S. has sputtered in recent weeks, according to a new report from the United States Labor Department.
The agency revealed on May 5 that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits has reached its highest level in eight months. Applications rose by approximately 43,000 to 474,000 in the week ended April 30, marking the third increase in a four-week span.
According to The Associated Press, a weekly average of about 375,000 applications is typically consistent with sustainable job growth. The latest figures were released a day before the Labor Department was slated to reveal April's unemployment numbers.
Some analysts have linked the steady increase in unemployment applicants to rising gas prices. They suggest that fuel prices have made employers more skeptical about adding new staff members.
Meanwhile, GOP Senators have unveiled a plan that aims to stimulate job growth. According to The Washington Post, five lawmakers introduced their ideas — which were packaged as the Senate Republican Jobs Plan — on May 4, which included a statutory spending limit for the government, a reduction in individual and corporate tax rates and a repeal of President Barack Obama's healthcare law.
"The red tape continues to hold American small businesses hostage," said Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), quoted by the media outlet.