Applications for US unemployment insurance last week rose slightly to the highest since January, suggesting that the strength in the labor market is moderating.

Initial unemployment claims increased by 4,000 to 235,000 in the week ended July 2, Labor Department data showed Thursday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 230,000 applications.

Continuing claims for state benefits rose to 1.38 million in the week ended June 25, still near a historic low but the highest in nine weeks.

The rise in claims underscores some moderation in what’s been an extremely tight labor market, as applications hold near the highest level since January. Interest-rate hikes by the Federal Reserve are expected to cool demand for workers, which could lead to more layoffs beyond select job-cut announcements at companies like Netflix Inc. and Tesla Inc.

The data precede Friday’s employment report from the government, which is expected to show the US added the fewest jobs in over a year in June and the unemployment rate held near the lowest in more than five decades. A separate release Wednesday showed US job openings fell slightly in May but remained near a record, while layoffs stayed historically low.

The jobless claims four-week moving average, a measure which smooths out some of the volatility in the series, ticked up somewhat to 232,500. It’s risen in 12 of the last 13 weeks.

On an unadjusted basis, initial claims increased to 219,507 last week. New York, Michigan and California posted some of the largest jumps.

--With assistance from Jordan Yadoo.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.