US jobless claims unexpectedly rise for the first time in a month | Unemployment News

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Jobless claims rose by 23,000 to 248,000 for the week ending February 12, the United States Department of Labor showed Thursday.

More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week following three straight weeks of declines.

Jobless claims rose by 23,000 to 248,000 for the week ending February 12, the United States Department of Labor reported Thursday. Claims were revised up to 225,000 the previous week.

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

In total, fewer than 1.6 million Americans were collecting jobless aid the week that ended February 5, a decrease of about 26,000 from the previous week.

Earlier this month, the Labor Department reported a surprising burst of hiring in January, with employers adding 467,000 jobs. It also revised upward its estimate for job gains in November and December by a combined 709,000. The unemployment rate edged up to a still-low 4 percent from 3.9 percent, as more people began looking for work, with not all of them securing jobs right away.

Even as the Omicron variant spread quickly earlier this winter, employers have been eager to hire. That winter spike in infections briefly tripped up the country’s strong recovery from 2020′s virus-caused recession, but employers appear confident in long-term growth.

Massive government spending and the vaccine rollout jump-started the economy as employers added a record 6.4 million jobs last year. The US economy expanded 5.7 percent in 2021, growing last year at the fastest annual pace since a 7.2 percent surge in 1984 that also came after a recession.

An overheated US economy has spawned inflation not seen in four decades, leading the US Federal Reserve to ease its support for the economy. The Fed has signalled that it would begin a series of interest-rate hikes in March, reversing pandemic-era policies that have fuelled hiring and growth but also stubborn inflation.



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