More Americans applied for jobless benefits last week
apply for unemployment benefits increased from 27,000 to 229,000 for the week ended June 4, the highest since mid-January Labour Department reported on Thursday. First time applications generally track the number of layoffs.
The four-week average for claims, which equalizes some weekly volatility, rose 8,000 to 215,000 from the previous week.
The total number of Americans collecting jobless benefits for the week ending May 28 remained unchanged from the previous week at 1,306,000, the lowest since January 10, 1970.
US workers are enjoying historically strong job security, two years after the coronavirus pandemic plunged the economy into a short but devastating recession. Weekly applications for unemployment aid have remained consistently below pre-pandemic levels of 225,000 for most of 2022, even as the overall economy contracted in the first quarter and concerns over inflation remain.
Last week, the government reported that US employers added 390,000 jobs in May, extending a streak of solid hiring that has bolstered the economy under pressure from high inflation and rising interest rates.
Last month’s gains reflect a resilient job market that has so far allayed concerns that the economy will weaken in the coming months as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates to fight inflation. The unemployment rate stood at 3.6 percent, just above a half-century low.
Job growth in May, though healthy, was the lowest monthly gain in a year. But it was high enough to keep the Fed on track in what is likely to be the fastest series of rate hikes in more than 30 years.
Inflation at the consumer level moderated slightly in April after months of relentless growth, but remained at a four-decade high. Consumer prices rose 8.3% last month from a year earlier, just below the 8.5% year-over-year increase in March, the highest since 1981.
Earlier in May, the Federal Reserve intensified its fight against inflation by raising its benchmark short-term interest rate by half a percentage point, signaling major rate hikes to come.
The Fed meets again next week.