Unexpected Increase in Unemployment Claims Hits Highest Level in Three Months

Americans Filing for Unemployment Benefits Unexpectedly Tick Higher

Last week, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly ticked higher, hitting the highest level in three months. According to the U.S. Labor Department, initial jobless claims rose to 211,000 last week, from 190,000 the week before.[0] It had been anticipated that there would only be a minor rise to 195,000.[1]

Continuing claims, representing the number of people already receiving benefits, were at s 1.72 million during the week ending Feb. 25, rising by 69,000 from the previous week's revised level.[2] The figure of 211,000 was an increase of 21,000 from the unrevised level of 190,000 the week[3] The 4-week moving average rose by 4,000 from 193,000 to 197,000, an unrevised figure from the prior week.[4]

Jerome Powell, Chair of the Federal Reserve, testified before Congress this week that, if economic data remains strong, the central bank may choose to raise interest rates more quickly, although no decision has yet been made for their upcoming policy meeting.[5]

Layoffs remain low in most of the U.S., and unemployment remains low. WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez explained that despite recent layoffs, unemployment remains low. The unadjusted number of initial claims made under state programs increased by 35,357 to 237.5K in the week ending March.[6] It was anticipated that seasonal factors would cause a rise of 11,791 from the prior week.[6]

Overall, the numbers suggest some softening in what’s still a tight labor market.[5] The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2% for the week ending February 25, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate. For the same week, seasonally adjusted insured employment was 1.718 million, an increase of 69,000 from the previous week.

0. “U.S. Jobless Claims Record Highest Weekly Increase; Bitcoin Price Jumps” CoinGape, 9 Mar. 2023, https://coingape.com/us-jobless-claims-bitcoin-price-jumps/

1. “U.S. jobless claims hit 10-week high of 211,000 By Investing.com” Investing.com, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.investing.com/news/economic-indicators/us-jobless-claims-hit-10week-high-of-211000-3026300

2. “Jobless claims rise sharply to highest level since December” Fox Business, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/jobless-claims-rise-sharply-highest-level-december

3. “US initial jobless claims increase in most recent week” Marketscreener.com, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.marketscreener.com/quote/stock/CME-GROUP-20701657/news/US-initial-jobless-claims-increase-in-most-recent-week-43203164/

4. “Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims” Forex Factory, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.forexfactory.com/news/1209787-unemployment-insurance-weekly-claims

5. “US jobless claims jump to 211,000, led by New York, California, shows data” Business Standard, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/us-jobless-claims-jump-to-211-000-led-by-new-york-california-shows-data-123030901049_1.html

6. “Jobless claims rise more than expected in past week” Seeking Alpha, 9 Mar. 2023, https://seekingalpha.com/news/3945927-jobless-claims-rise-more-than-expected-in-past-week

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