US jobless claims rose 28,000, but remained low at 222,000



The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose last week even though the US job market recovered from last year’s coronavirus recession.

The Department of Labor reported on Thursday. The four-week average of claims, which smooths out the week-by-week ups and downs, has fallen below 239,000, the pandemic low.

Since hitting a peak of 900,000 in early January, weekly applications – a proxy for layoffs – have fallen more or less steadily.

Overall, 2 million Americans were receiving traditional unemployment benefits for the week ending November 20, down 107,000 from the previous week.

Until September 6, the federal government has supplemented state unemployment insurance programs by paying an extra $300 a week and extending benefits to contract workers and decedents. work for six months or more. Including federal programs, the number of Americans receiving some form of unemployment aid peaked at more than 33 million in June 2020.

The job market has recovered strongly since the spring of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses to close or cut hours and forced many Americans to stay home as a health precaution. In March and April last year, employers cut more than 22 million jobs.

But government bailout checks, super low interest rates and a vaccine rollout combine to give consumers the confidence and finances to start spending again. Employers, struggling to meet a spike in demand, have gained 18 million new employees since April 2020, and Friday’s jobs report is expected to show they added 535,000 in November, however, the US was still short of 4 million jobs in February 2020.

Companies now complain they can’t find workers to fill job openings, a near-record number of 10.4 million in September. Workers, for the first time, find themselves with bargaining power for decades, are becoming more selective in terms of employment; A record 4.4 million people quit their jobs in September, a sign that they are confident in their ability to find something better.

However, economists warn that the high transmittance omicron variation could disrupt the economic recovery.

“Workers are in high demand and businesses are reluctant to reduce their workforce amid prolonged shortages,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics. “Our base case is that the supply (of workers) will gradually return as the buffer from savings decreases. However, new health concerns are a risk that could prevent people from returning to the workforce in the coming months. “ US jobless claims rose 28,000, but remained low at 222,000

Aila Slisco

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