Jobless claims reach 220,000, layoffs still low

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Number: The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week was barely changed by 220,000, indicating that layoffs remain extremely low, even as businesses have cut back on hiring.

The government said Thursday that new jobless claims rose to 220,000 from a revised 219,000 the previous week. Economists had expected new claims to total 222,000 in the week ending Dec. 2.

Layoffs are still historically low, but other reports suggest businesses are hiring fewer people.

Key Details: New unemployment claims increased in the 49 states and territories that report these figures to the federal government. They fell in only four states.

The increase in most states was probably exaggerated due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Many people who have just lost their jobs wait until the following week to apply for benefits.

The impact of Thanksgiving was also evident in the number of actual claims – that is, before seasonal adjustments. They jumped nearly 94,000 to 293,511 to mark the highest level since January.

However, just a week earlier, actual claims totaled less than 200,000.

If the past two weeks are averaged together, actual jobless claims appear to be in line with the recent trend.

Meanwhile, the number of people receiving unemployment benefits in the US fell by 64,000 to 1.86 million. Still, the gradual increase in these so-called continuous claims is a sign that people are taking longer to find new jobs.

Economists say unemployment claims rise sharply due to temporary hiring during the holiday season and should be evaluated with caution.

big picture: High interest rates held by the Federal Reserve to curb inflation ultimately slow the economy and reduce the demand for labor. Job opportunities are continuously decreasing and businesses are not adding as many employees

However, companies are not cutting a lot of jobs and laying off employees. As long as most people are working and unemployment remains low, the economy is likely to avoid crisis.

looking ahead: “We think the claims data, along with other recent labor market data, are in line with the job market, making further rate hikes unlikely,” Nancy Vanden Houten, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, wrote in a note to clients. “Cold enough to cum.”

Market reaction: Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,
and S&P 500 SPX,
Thursday’s trading picked up.

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