Unemployment Claims Hold Near 8-Month High

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer August 4, 2022
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woman laid off

​States reported that 260,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending July 30. The number of workers continuing to claim unemployment benefits—1.4 million—is still well below the prepandemic average of 1.7 million.

Unemployment claims have generally been rising this year and are hovering near the highest level since November 2021, coinciding with an increase in job cuts and hiring freezes being reported, primarily in the technology sector.

The four-week moving average for claims, which smooths weekly volatility, inched up to 254,750, just above the prepandemic weekly average of 218,000, but still at a level consistent with a strong labor market. The national unemployment rate, at 3.6 percent, is hovering near a record low and employers have created more than 450,000 new jobs per month through the first half of the year while the number of available jobs remains close to a record high. The unemployment rate and employment numbers for July will be released tomorrow.

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