More Americans filed for jobless claims last week, but the labor market remains broadly healthy despite low inflation and increased interest rates.
Matt Ott AP Business Writer
November 16, 2023, 8:39 am ET
• read 2 minutes
More Americans filed unemployment claims last week, but the labor market remains broadly healthy despite low inflation and increased interest rates.
Applications for unemployment benefits rose by 13,000 to 231,000 in the week ending Nov. 11, the Labor Department reported Thursday. This is the highest in three months.
Jobless claims applications are viewed as a proxy for the number of layoffs in a given week.
The four-week moving average of claims, a less volatile measure, rose from 7,750 to 220,250.
Overall, 1.87 million people were receiving unemployment benefits in the week ending Nov. 4, about 32,000 more than the previous week and the most since March.
Analysts suggest that these so-called “continued claims” are continuing to rise because many of those who are already unemployed may now have difficulty finding new work.
Still, the U.S. labor market appears to be resilient amid the Federal Reserve’s drive to get inflation back to its 2% target.
Although Fed officials opted to leave the benchmark rate alone at their most recent policy meeting, the US central bank has raised rates 11 times since March 2022 in an effort to control inflation, which is set to hit a four-decade high in 2022. Has reached. The Fed aims to cool the economy and labor market deeply, which officials say should slow price growth.
It’s taken a long time, but the Fed’s actions appear to be working.
Overall inflation did not rise from September to October, marking the first time that consumer prices collectively did not rise from one month to the next in more than a year. Compared with a year earlier, prices rose 3.2% in October, the smallest increase since June, though still above the Fed’s 2% inflation target.
The Labor Department reported earlier this month that employers posted 9.6 million job openings in September, up from 9.5 million in August. Layoffs fell from 1.7 million to 1.5 million.
U.S. private employers slowed their hiring in October, adding a modest but still healthy 150,000 jobs.
Last month’s job growth, though down considerably from the strong 297,000 increase in September, was solid enough to suggest that many companies are still looking to hire and the economy remains strong.