US jobless claims climb to 207K

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The number of American workers filing unemployment claims rose slightly but remained near historically low levels in a tight labor market, according to data released on Thursday.

Data released by the Labor Department showed 207,000 initial jobless claims for the week ending on Jan. 1. The tally marked an increase of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised number of 200,000 claims.

Analysts expected the Labor Department’s data to show 195,000 claims, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The numbers suggest a limited initial impact from the Omicron variant, which drove a surge in COVID-19 cases and renewed pandemic-related concerns for businesses.

“New jobless claims are up a bit in the latest week but remain close to the lowest levels in decades,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, told the Associated Press. “This suggests workers can be reasonably confident about job security and an upbeat employment outlook for this year.”

According to data, Approximately 1.75 million Americans were claiming unemployment benefits for the week ending on December 25, 2021
According to data, approximately 1.75 million Americans were claiming unemployment benefits for the week ending on December 25, 2021.
AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File
jobless_claims
Data released by the Labor Department showed 207,000 initial jobless claims for the week ending on Jan. 1.
Dept. of Labor

The four-week moving average of Americans filing unemployment claims was 204,500. The number rose 4,750 compared to the previous week’s revised average of 199,750.

Approximately 1.75 million Americans were claiming unemployment benefits for the week ending on Dec. 25, for an increase of 36,000 compared to the previous week.

Weekly unemployment claims are considered an indicator for layoffs in the US economy. But numbers have fallen in recent months with US employers locked in competition to fill roles in a tight labor market.

According to the Department of Labor, the numbers have improved significantly since the start of the pandemic.
According to the Department of Labor, the numbers have improved significantly since the start of the pandemic.
REUTERS/Octavio Jones/File Photo
The number of American workers filing unemployment claims rose by 7,000 in the first week of the new year, but still remained historically low.
The number of American workers filing unemployment claims rose by 7,000 in the first week of the new year, but still remained historically low.
EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Earlier this week, the Labor Department reported a record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November. That same month, US employers posted 10.6 million job openings.

The numbers have improved significantly since the start of the pandemic. Weekly claims exceeded 6 million in April 2020.

“Some businesses temporarily close around the holiday season, causing an increase in filings for unemployment benefits,” Citigroup economist Veronica Clark told Reuters.

Analysts will be watching the Omicron variant’s impact on the US economic as cases continue to rise.
Analysts will be watching the Omicron variant’s impact on the US economy as cases continue to rise.
EPA/TANNEN MAURY
Jeannie Santamaria (center), a human resources coordinator for the Cream-O-Land during a job fair for truck drivers and warehouse workers at the company’s warehouse in Jersey City.
Jeannie Santamaria (center), a human resources coordinator for Cream-O-Land, during a job fair for truck drivers and warehouse workers at the company’s warehouse in Jersey City.
EPA/JUSTIN LANE

“As worker shortages have been a persistent issue and employment levels are already lower than desired, this effect has been much less during the recent holiday season.”

Analysts will be watching the Omicron variant’s impact on the US economic recovery in the coming weeks. The US reported nearly 1 million COVID-19 infections on Monday in what was a new global record.

The Labor Department will publish its December jobs report on Friday.

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