Saturday, February 4, 2023

Slight increase in applications for unemployment benefits

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – Claims for unemployment benefits in the United States rose slightly from last week, the State Department reported Thursday. However, the labor market remains one of the strongest sectors of the US economy.

Claims rose to 230,000 in the week ending December 3 from 226,000 in the previous week. The four-week moving average, which measures weekly volatility, rose 1,000 to 230,000.

About 1.67 million people availed the benefit in the week ending November 26, which is 62,000 more than the previous week. This is the highest number in 10 months, but it is still historically low.

Benefits claims are viewed as a proxy for layoffs, and combined with other employment data suggest that American workers are enjoying exceptional job stability at the moment. This is despite the fact that some see the risk of a recession due to the aggressive measures of the Federal Reserve, which tries to cool the economy by raising interest rates.

The Fed has raised its benchmark interest rate six times since March, leaving the housing market reeling under the weight of mortgage rates that have more than doubled from a year ago. Many economists expect the country to slide into recession next year, as a further Fed rate hike raises borrowing costs and slows economic activity.

Last month, the Fed raised its short-term rate by 0.75 percentage points for the fourth time this year, tripling its normal margin. The rate is between 3.75% and 4%, the highest in 15 years.

Nation World News Desk
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