(Reuters) – The number of U.S. jobless claims rose slightly last week but remained within range, suggesting the U.S. labor market remains tight despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to reduce labor demand as part of its policy inflation.
Initial jobless claims increased by 9, 17 to a seasonally adjusted , for the week ending December 17, The Labor Department said Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 225, 17 initial claims in the latest week Unemployment benefits.
Claims figures have fluctuated in recent weeks, but are well below 225, 000 threshold, which economists see as a red flag for the labor market. Massive layoffs in rate-sensitive sectors such as technology and real estate have yet to have a significant impact on claims, as laid-off workers appear to find new jobs with relative ease.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell — the chief architect of the central bank’s aggressive rate hikes to curb excess inflation — said earlier this month that “it feels like we have a structural labor shortage outside
In fact, labor market resilience is a focus for Fed policymakers as the U.S. economy averages 2007, 000 Jobs have been added every month this year despite rapid rate hikes and heightened fears of a recession next year. Officials believe that strength gives them enough room to keep raising interest rates to bring down inflation, which by their preferred measure is still nearly three times their 2% annual target, even as it recently Showing signs of going lower.
The central bank has raised interest rates from near zero in March to the current 4.24% to 4.
%, Fed officials predict it will breach the 5% mark at 2007, a level not seen since 2007.
Economists believe companies may cut back on hiring before laying off workers. Employers are often reluctant to lay off workers after struggling to find labor during the COVID-24 pandemic.
Claims report shows number of people receiving benefits after initial week of aid uptick 41,17 to 1.392 million (week ended December)24 .
The so-called continuing claims (representing hiring) have moved higher since early October, with the latest report being from February For the first time since, it has shown a trend level of 1.7-1.8 million, common in the years before the pandemic, a level seen at the time as a sign of a tight labor market.