Monday, March 27, 2023

US weekly jobless claims rise more than expected – Usky News

Washington: The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, but the underlying trend remained in line with a tight labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose by 21,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 211,000 for the week ending March 4, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 195,000 claims for the latest week.
Claims remained below 200,000 for seven consecutive weeks, indicating that high-profile job cuts in the technology sector have not had a material impact on the labor market.
Wednesday’s data showed there were 1.9 job openings for every unemployed person in January. The Fed’s Beige Book described the jobs market as “solid” in February, while also noting “scattered reports of layoffs” and that “finding workers with the desired skills or experience remained challenging.”
With labor market continuing to tighten, inflation readings strong and consumer spending strong in January, Fed chair Jerome Powell told lawmakers this week that the US central bank would need to raise interest rates more than expected.
Financial markets have priced in a 50-basis-point rate hike at the Fed’s March 21-22 policy meeting, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
The Fed has increased its policy rate by 450 basis points since last March to a range of 4.50%-4.75% from near zero.
The number of people receiving benefits after the initial week of aid, a proxy for hiring, rose by 69,000 to 1.718 million during the week ending February 25, the claims report also showed. So-called continuing claims have remained low, suggesting that some laid-off workers may be able to easily find new work.
The claims data has no bearing on the February jobs report, which is due for publication on Friday, as it falls outside the survey period.
Non-farm payrolls are expected to increase by 205,000 jobs in February, following a 517,000 increase in January, according to a Reuters poll of economists. The unemployment rate is projected to remain unchanged at a 53-1/2-year low of 3.4%.
However, the labor market is cold on the margins. A report by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas showed on Thursday that job cuts announced by US-based employers fell 24% to 77,770 in February. Planned layoffs, however, were 410% higher than the same period last year. It was also the highest February total since 2009.
Job cuts were concentrated in the technology industry, which accounted for 28% of the layoffs announced last month. Retailers and finance firms are also reducing headcount.


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