More Americans applied for employment benefits last week following three straight weeks of declines.
Jobless claims rose by 23,000 to 248,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday.Claims were revised up to 225,000 the previous week.Economist attribute the uptick to lingering effects of the Omicron wave.
“The trend is still falling, unwinding the hit from the Omicron Covid wave, and claims likely will drop next week,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said in a report.”The pre-Omicron low was [188,000] in the first week of December; we expect that to be reached again by late March.”
The four-week average for claims, which compensates for weekly volatility, fell by 10,500 to 243,250.It was the second straight week of declines after rising for five straight weeks as the coronavirus Omicron variant, disrupting business in many parts of the U.S.
In total, fewer than 1.6 million Americans were collecting jobless aid in the week that ended February 5, a decrease of about 26,000 from the previous week.
The overall job market is still healthy , with about 4 million more job openings than unemployed workers.Hiring remains strong, with employers adding 467,000 jobs last month.
“Despite the uptick, we expect initial claims to continue to grind back toward [200,000],” Mahir Rasheed, U.S.
economist with Oxford Economics, said in a report.”Layoffs are expected to be minimal in a tight labor market where employers continue to face difficulty hiring workers.”
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