The number of jobless claims increased by 21,000 to 218,000 for the week ending May 14, the Labor Department said.
More Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, but the total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits was at a 53-year low.
Jobless claims rose 21,000 to 218,000 in the week ended May 14, the US Labor Department said on Thursday. First-time applications often track layoffs.
The four-week average for claims, which eliminates some of the weekly volatility, rose 8,250 from the previous week to 199,500.
The total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits for the week ending May 7 fell again from the previous week, to 1,317,000. That is at least since December 27, 1969.
American workers are enjoying historically strong job security two years after the coronavirus pandemic pushed the economy into a short but devastating recession. Weekly jobless claims have been consistently below pre-pandemic levels of 225,000 for most of 2022, even as the overall economy shrank in the first quarter and inflation concerns persist.
Earlier this month, the government said US employers added 428,000 jobs in April, bringing the unemployment rate to 3.6%, well above a half-century low. Wage gains have been very consistent in the face of the worst inflation in four decades, with employers adding at least 400,000 jobs for 12 straight months.
Inflation may be the only thing hotter than the job market in the US. Last week, the government reported that US producer prices rose 11% in April from a year earlier, a colossal increase that suggests high inflation will remain a burden on consumers and businesses in the coming months. the coming months.
Also last week, the government reported that consumer-level inflation eased slightly in April after months of unrelenting gains but remained near a four-decade high. Consumer prices rose 8.3% last month from a year ago, just below the 8.5% year-on-year increase in March, the highest level since 1981.
In early May, the US Federal Reserve stepped up its fight against inflation to its worst in 40 years by raising the benchmark short-term interest rate by half a percentage point – the most positive move since 2000 – and signal the upcoming big interest rate hikes. . The Fed’s hike in its key interest rate lifted it to about 0.75% to 1%, the highest level since the pandemic hit in March 2020.