Economic network

Fewer Americans apply for unemployment assistance last week

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as the job market continues to roll despite decades of high inflation.

Unemployment assistance claims for the week ending Sept. 3 fell to 222,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The first requests generally reflect layoffs.

The four-week average of claims, which smooths out some of the weekly highs and lows, fell from 7,500 to 233,000.

The number of Americans receiving traditional unemployment benefits has increased…

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as the job market continues to roll despite decades of high inflation.

Unemployment assistance claims for the week ending Sept. 3 fell to 222,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The first requests generally reflect layoffs.

The four-week average of claims, which smooths out some of the weekly highs and lows, fell from 7,500 to 233,000.

The number of Americans receiving traditional unemployment benefits rose by 36,000 in the week ending August 27, to 1.47 million.

Hiring in the United States in 2022 has been remarkably strong even as the country faces rising interest rates and weak economic growth.

On Friday, the Labor Department said employers added 315,000 jobs in August, about what economists had expected, compared with an average of 487,000 a month over the past year. The jobless rate hit 3.7%, its highest level since February. But it rose for a healthy reason: Hundreds of thousands of people returned to the labor market, and some didn’t find work right away, driving up the number of government unemployed.

The US economy has been confusing so far this year. Economic growth fell in the first half of 2022, which by some informal definitions signals a recession.

But businesses remain desperate to find workers, posting more than 11 million job openings in July, meaning there are nearly two vacancies, on average, for every unemployed American.

Inflation continues to threaten the global and US economies. Consumer price inflation slowed slightly from June to July, but remains historically high enough for the Federal Reserve to signal that it will continue to raise interest rates until prices come down.

Analysts and economists expect the Fed to raise its benchmark borrowing rate by at least another half a point when it meets in two weeks.

The Fed has already raised its short-term interest rate four times this year and Chairman Jerome Powell has said the central bank will likely have to keep interest rates high enough to slow the economy “for a while” to to control the worst inflation. in 40 years. Powell acknowledged that the increases will hurt American households and businesses, but also said the pain would be worse if inflation stayed at current levels.

Some of this so-called pain has already begun, particularly in the housing and tech sectors. Online property companies RedFin and Compass recently announced job cuts as rising interest rates cooled the housing market.

Other high-profile layoffs have been announced in recent months by Tesla, Netflix, Carvana and Coinbase.

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