Jobless Claims Remain Slightly Elevated

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer January 27, 2022
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​States reported that 260,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending Jan. 22, a decrease of 30,000 from the previous week's revised level. New jobless claims had hovered around pre-pandemic levels (220,000 claims or less) for over a month at the end of 2021, before omicron-related disruptions began impeding employment growth.

The total number of workers continuing to claim unemployment benefits—1.6 million—is still below its pre-pandemic average of 1.7 million.

The latest monthly employment report for December showed the unemployment rate falling to 3.9 percent, the lowest level since February 2020. Hiring was positive throughout 2021, although muted by the end of the year. Economists expect that January's employment report, released Feb. 4, will also show an omicron-related ebb in labor market recovery.

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