The claims are viewed as a proxy for layoffs and remain extraordinarily low by historical standards, signalling that most Americans enjoy unusual job security.
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Businesses continue to retain workers despite elevated interest rates meant to cool the economy and labor market.
The U.S. labor market remains strong despite higher interest rates—perhaps too strong for the inflation fighters at the Federal Reserve.
Economists say that given the difficulties in finding workers during the past two years, businesses will likely hold onto them as long as possible, even if the economy weakens.
Despite the influx of workers, average hourly wages rose 0.4% from June and 4.4% from a year earlier—numbers that were hotter than expected and are likely to worry the Federal Reserve.
While some industries—such as manufacturing, warehousing, and retail—have slowed their hiring in recent months, they aren’t yet cutting jobs in large numbers.
Despite the fastest interest rate hikes since 1989, the unemployment rate has hardly budged, remaining at a historically low 3.6%.
U.S. employers have added a strong 314,000 jobs a month this year, and at 3.7% in May, the unemployment rate is not far off a half-century low.
U.S. employers added a surprising 339,000 jobs last month, well above expectations, painting a mostly encouraging picture of the job market.
The four-week moving average of claims, which flattens some of the week-to-week fluctuations, rose to its highest level since November 2021.
Despite last week’s sharp increase in filings for unemployment aid, some analysts cautioned against concluding that layoffs are picking up across the economy.
Since the pandemic purge of millions of jobs three years ago, the U.S. economy has added jobs at a breakneck pace and Americans have enjoyed unusual job security.
Applications for unemployment benefits climbed to a more than one-year high and wholesale inflation continued to moderate, adding to signs of softening in the economy.
April’s hiring gain compares with 165,000 in March and 248,000 in February and is still at a level considered vigorous by historical standards.
The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary, out Tuesday, showed that layoffs rose to 1.8 million, the highest level since December 2020.
America’s employers added a solid 236,000 jobs in March, suggesting that the economy remains on solid footing despite the nine interest rate hikes the Federal Reserve has imposed over the past year in its drive to tame inflation.
The labor market continues to thrive despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool the economy and tamp down inflation.