US weekly jobless claims rise for the first time in a month


Many Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week after three straight weeks of declines.

The Department of Labor reported on Thursday. The claims were revised up to 225,000 last week.

The four-week average for claims, which offset weekly volatility, fell 10,500 to 243,250. It was the second consecutive week of declines after rising for five straight weeks as the omicron variant of the coronavirus spread, disrupting business in many parts of the US.

In total, less than 1.6 million Americans received unemployment aid in the week ending February 5, down about 26,000 from the previous week.

Earlier this month, the Labor Department reported a surprising hiring spree in January, with employers adding 467,000 jobs. It also revised up its November and December employment estimates to 709,000. The unemployment rate, which rose from 3.9% to 4%, remains low, as more people start looking for work, but not all immediately secure jobs.

Even as the omicron variant spread rapidly earlier this winter, employers were eager to recruit. That winter’s spike briefly stifled the country’s strong recovery from the virus-induced recession in 2020, but employers appear confident in their resilience. long-term growth.

Massive government spending and the rollout of a vaccine kicked off the economy as employers added a record 6.4 million jobs last year. The US economy will grow 5.7% in 2021, growing last year at its fastest annual rate since 7.2% in 1984, also coming after a recession.

The overheated US economy created inflation not seen in four decades, prompting the Federal Reserve to reduce support for the economy. The Fed has signaled that it will begin a series of rate hikes in March, reversing pandemic-era policies that boosted hiring and growth but also fueled stubborn inflation.

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Tom Vazquez

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