Unemployment Claims Tick Down as GDP Contraction May Signal Recession

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer July 28, 2022

​States reported that 256,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending July 23, a slight decline from the previous week, though initial jobless claims continue to hover at their highest weekly level since November 2021 and signal that the hot jobs market has begun to cool. The number of workers continuing to claim unemployment benefits—1.3 million—is still well below the pre-pandemic average of 1.7 million.

Meanwhile, separate data released this morning indicates that the U.S. may now technically be in a recession, after two consecutive quarters of negative growth in gross domestic product. GDP fell 0.9 percent in the second quarter of 2022 after declining 1.6 percent in the first quarter, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Despite two quarters of negative growth in GDP, the national unemployment rate, at 3.6 percent, is near a record low and employers have created more than 450,000 new jobs per month through the first half of the year. The National Bureau of Economic Research makes the official declaration of a recession, and is expected to make an announcement soon.

In other economic news, the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate yesterday another 0.75 percent, up to a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent, in an effort to tame the highest inflation rate since 1981. This is the fourth interest rate hike in five months.



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