US weekly jobless claims hit new high

Washington: Initial jobless claims in the US last week rose to 262,000, hitting a new high since November 2021, the US Labour Department reported.

In the week ending August 6, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased by 14,000 from the previous week’s downwardly revised level of 248,000, according to a report released on Thursday by the Department’s Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS).

The four-week moving average for initial jobless claims, a method to iron out data volatility, increased by 4,500 to 252,000, the report showed, Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying.

Jobless claims totaled 166,000 in the week ending March 19, the lowest in decades.

In recent months, the figures have been trending up amid surging inflation and rising interest rates.

The latest figure of 262,000 is well above the 2019 weekly average of 218,000, which is the pre-pandemic level.

In the week ending March 14, 2020, jobless claims totaled 221,000, but in the following week, the figure skyrocketed to 2.9 million.

The latest report also showed that the number of people continuing to collect regular state unemployment benefits, which was reported with a one-week lag, increased by 8,000 to 1.4 million during the week ending July 30.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programmes — state and federal combined — for the week ending July 23 also increased by 9,206 to 1.48 million.

The Department reported last week that employers added 528,000 jobs in July despite recession fears, with the unemployment rate edging down to the pre-pandemic level of 3.5 percent, signaling a still robust labour market.

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