One sign that labor market is improving is the steady decline in jobless claims. The U.S. Department of Labor reports,
In the week ending Ma rch 12, the a dva nce figure for sea sonally a djusted initial claims wa s 214,000, a decrea se of 15,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 2,000 from 227,000 to 229,000. The 4-week moving a vera ge wa s 223,000, a decrea se of 8,750 from the previous week’s revised a vera ge. The previous week’s average was revised up by 500 from 231,250 to 231,750.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.0 percent for the week ending March 5, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 5 was 1,419,000, a decrease of 71,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since February 21, 1970 when it was 1,412,000.
The Associated Press reports,
Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs continue to fall amid a strong job market rebound.
The rebound comes with consequences.
Earlier this month, the government reported that employers added a robust 678,000 jobs in February, the largest monthly total since July. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.8%, from 4% in January, extending a sharp decline in joblessness to its lowest level since before the pandemic erupted two years ago.
U.S. businesses posted a near-record level of open jobs in January — 11.3 million — a trend has helped pad workers’ pay and added to inflationary pressures.
The AP also notes the Fed’s response to the inflationary pressures.
The Federal Reserve launched a high-risk effort Wednesday to tame the worst inflation since the early 1980s, raising its benchmark short-term interest rate and signaling up to six additional rate hikes this year.
The Fed’s quarter-point hike in its key rate, which it had pinned near zero since the pandemic recession struck two years ago, marks the start of its effort to curb the high inflation that followed the recovery from the recession. The rate hikes will eventually mean higher loan rates for many consumers and businesses.
Uncertainty appears to be the theme of the day.