Recurring Jobless Claims Continue to Rise

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer December 8, 2022
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​States reported that 230,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending Dec. 3, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's revised level. The number of workers continuing to claim unemployment benefits—1.67 million— has been steadily rising through the year but is still below the pre-pandemic average of 1.7 million. Recurring applications for unemployment benefits is at its highest level since February, suggesting that laid-off workers are having more trouble finding a new job in a cooling labor market.

Employers continue to announce layoffs, but widespread layoffs are not happening, according to economists. Instead, 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.

The job market has remained resilient through 2022, with job growth continuing to exceed the 2019 monthly average, though gains have slowed from the first half of the year. The unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent in November, and in another blow to the Federal Reserve's anti-inflation efforts, average hourly earnings shot up well above expectations.

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