The number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance rose slightly last week after falling to a seven-month low a week earlier, as businesses continued to retain employees. despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool the economy.
Claims for unemployment assistance are considered an indicator of the number of layoffs in a week.
The four-week moving average of claims, a less volatile measure, fell 5,000 to 224,500.
The Federal Reserve is in its second year of fighting inflation, raising interest rates 11 times since March last year. At 5.4%, the Federal Reserve’s benchmark borrowing rate is at its highest level in 22 years.
The Federal Reserve’s rate hike is aimed at cooling the labor market and lowering wages, which many economists believe will help ease pressure on price growth. Although some measures of inflation have fallen sharply — from 9% to about 3% — since the Fed began raising interest rates, the labor market has fared better than many expected.
Earlier this month, the government reported that American employers added 187,000 jobs in August, another sign of a healthy labor market. Although the unemployment rate rose to 3.8%, it remains below historical levels.
The US economy has added an average of about 236,000 jobs per month this year, down from the pandemic surge of the past two years but still a strong number.