The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, but the total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits remains below 50 years.
Unemployment claims rose 1,000 to 203,000 in the week ended May 7, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday. Filing for the first time usually tracks deletions.
The average of 4-week claims increased from 4,250 to 192,750 in the previous week, which offset some weekly volatility.
The total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits for the week ended April 30 dropped from 44,000 to 1,343,000 compared to the previous week. This is the lowest level since 3 January 1970.
Two years after the coronavirus epidemic plunged the economy into a brief but devastating recession, American workers are enjoying historically strong job security. Despite the contraction in the broader economy in the first quarter, weekly unemployment claims were largely below 225,000 pre-epidemic levels by 2022.
Last week, the government reported that US employers added 428,000 jobs in April, and the unemployment rate was 3.6%, the highest level in half a century. In the wake of the worst inflation in 40 years, job growth has been surprisingly stable, with employers adding at least 400,000 jobs in 12 consecutive months.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in March, US employers posted an unprecedented 11.5 million job opportunities, two for every unemployed person. A record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in March – a sign that they believe they will get better pay or better working conditions elsewhere.
While the job market is hot, inflation is hot. On Thursday, the government reported that US producer prices rose 11% in April from a year earlier, a significant increase indicating that high inflation will weigh on consumers and businesses for months to come.
On Wednesday, the government reported that inflation had eased slightly in April after months of steady gains, but was nearing a four-year high. Consumer prices rose 8.3% year-on-month last month, slightly slower than March’s 8.5% year-on-year profit and the highest level since 1981.
Last week, the Fed intensified its fight against the worst inflation in 40 years, raising its benchmark short-term interest rate by 0.5 per cent – the most aggressive action since 2000 – and signaling even more sharp rises. The Fed’s key interest rate hike raised it from 0.75% to 1%, the highest since the outbreak began two years ago.
The Commerce Department reported last month that the U.S. economy slowed for the first time since the pandemic slowdown two years ago, growing at an annual rate of 1.4%, although consumers and businesses are worried that spending will continue to show resilience.