US jobless claims rise to highest level since January | unemployment news

Claims for jobless benefits increased by 21,000 to 218,000 for the week ending May 14, the US Department of Labor said.

More Americans filed for jobless aid last week, but the total number of Americans collecting jobless benefits is at the lowest level in 53 years.

Claims for jobless benefits rose by 21,000 to 218,000 for the week ending May 14, the US Department of Labor reported Thursday. First-time applications generally track the number of layoffs.

The four-week average of claims, which smooths out some of the weekly volatility, rose 8,250 from the previous week to 199,500.

The total number of Americans who collected unemployment benefits during the week ending May 7 fell again from the previous week, to 1,317,000. That’s the fewest since Dec. 27, 1969.

American workers enjoy historically strong job security two years after the coronavirus pandemic plunged the economy into a short but devastating recession. Weekly jobless claims have been consistently below the pre-pandemic level of 225,000 for most of 2022, even as the broader economy contracted in the first quarter and concerns about inflation persist.

Earlier this month, the government reported that US employers added 428,000 jobs in April, leaving the unemployment rate at 3.6 percent, just above the lowest level in half a century. Hiring gains have been surprisingly consistent in the face of the worst inflation in four decades, with employers adding at least 400,000 jobs for 12 straight months.

Inflation may be the only thing hotter than the US labor market. Last week, the government reported that US producer prices soared 11 percent in April from a year earlier, a strong gain that indicates high inflation will continue to burden consumers and businesses. in the coming months.

Also last week, the government reported that consumer-level inflation eased slightly in April after months of relentless gains, but remained near a four-decade high. Consumer prices rose 8.3 percent last month from a year earlier, just below the 8.5 percent year-on-year increase in March, which was the highest since 1981.

In early May, the US Federal Reserve stepped up its fight against the worst inflation in 40 years by raising its short-term benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point, its most aggressive move since 2000, signaling that More major rate hikes are coming. . The increase in the key Fed rate took it to a range of 0.75 percent to 1 percent, the highest point since the pandemic hit in March 2020.

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