30.03.2023 11:19 PM
US jobless claims are on the rise

Jobless claims among Americans rose for the first time in three weeks. This shows some weakening of the still robust labor market, where employers are hesitant to lay people off.

US jobless claims rise

Jobless claims for the week ended March 25 totaled 198,000, up 7,000 from the previous period and a bit higher than the 195,000 estimate, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Thus, the overall layoff rate appears to be increasing.

The four-week moving average of weekly claims, which smooths volatility in the numbers, rose slightly to 198,250, the highest level in two months. On an unadjusted basis, claims rose nearly 11,000, to 223,913.

Continuing claims, which run a week behind and is also a good indicator of how difficult it is for people to find work after losing their job, edged up to 1.689 million for the week ended March 18.

Note that despite the increase, the labor market is holding very firm after the Federal Reserve's annual interest rate hike. Unemployment is historically low, so that for every American who wants one job, there are almost two job openings. At the same time, job creation has remained steady.

Still, there will come a point when jobless claims begin to mirror the layoff announcements that have swept the technology, banking and other sectors. It remains to be seen how the banking crisis might affect the number of jobless claims, but the economy is likely to show some signs of strain in the coming weeks and months, followed by a decline in labor demand.

The data precede next week's jobs report, which is expected to show another strong month of hiring in March.

A separate report released Thursday showed that U.S. corporate profits fell in the fourth quarter to the highest in two years, while gross domestic income showed the biggest drop since the pandemic began. Sooner or later this will undoubtedly weaken the labor market. However, this is unlikely to allow the Fed to breathe a sigh of relief, as reason does not favor officials.

Egor Danilov,
Analytical expert of InstaForex
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