Jobless Claims Jump Amid Tech Sector Layoffs

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer November 23, 2022
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States reported that 240,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending Nov. 19, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week's revised level, but still not far from the pre-pandemic average of 218,000. The number of workers continuing to claim unemployment benefits—1.5 million—remains below the pre-pandemic average of 1.7 million but has been steadily rising through the year.

Layoffs in the technology sector continue to accumulate, with more than 45,000 cuts announced this month alone. It may be too early for claims from the three biggest workforce reductions—at Amazon, Meta and Twitter—to show up in the data. Those affected workers may have also found new jobs, as technology job openings remain well above their pre-pandemic level.

Companies in interest-rate sensitive sectors like housing and finance are also letting workers go. But widespread layoffs are not happening, according to economists. It is believed instead that most employers are hanging on to workers after experiencing labor shortages since the pandemic. There are still nearly two job openings for every unemployed person.

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