Unemployment filings were up slightly last week across the country, but remain at a low level, as employers continue to struggle to fill job openings. The U.S. Department of Labor reports,
In the week ending January 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 207,000, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 2,000 from 198,000 to 200,000. The 4-week moving average was 204,500, an increase of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 500 from 199,250 to 199,750.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.3 percent for the week ending December 25, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate.
The Wall Street Journal reports,
Economists are watching for signs that the labor market is cooling in the face of increased Covid-19 infections, which could cause consumers to pull back, but a constrained supply of workers appears to be a larger challenge. Job openings are trending near record highs and an unprecedented number of Americans have been quitting their jobs in recent months, including 4.5 million in November. That means employers may bear the brunt of the impact from another season of public-health disruptions.
“Employee confidence is extremely high; there are so many choices,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at staffing firm Robert Half International Inc. “The demand for skilled talent is unprecedented right now.”
There have been more than 10 million job openings every month since June 2021, according to data from the Labor Department and jobs site Indeed. The imbalance between job seekers and open jobs has gotten so extreme that in November there were roughly two available unemployed workers for every three openings.
As we noted earlier, the economy is the top concern of Washington voters, who believe it’s headed in the wrong direction and are looking for tax relief.