New rise in jobless claims in the United States

(Washington) Weekly jobless claims continued to climb in the United States in early January, for the second week in a row, but remain at a very low level as employers across the country are reluctant to lay off workers in the face of labor shortages. ‘work.

From January 2 to 8, 230,000 people registered as unemployed to receive an allowance, 23,000 more than the previous week, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday.

Registrations are at their highest since early November, disappointing analysts, who expected to see registrations fall again, and expected 202,000 registrations.

American employers have been facing a labor shortage for months, pushing them to keep their employees.

The four-week average of registrations also climbs to 210,750 (+6250 compared to the previous week).

This increase “probably reflects an increase in layoffs due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases” linked to Omicron, commented Nancy Vanden Houten, economist for Oxford Economics.

“Enrollments could remain high in the near term, but we expect (they) will return to the 200,000 level once the Omicron wave has passed,” she added.

Seasonal factors linked to the holiday season could also be at the origin of this new rebound, underlines Ian Shepherdson, economist for Pantheon Macroeconomics.

“The speed of the drop in registrations in November was accentuated by favorable seasonal factors, and the backlash appears in recent figures”, he underlines, counting on an effect for “another week or two”, before a further decline.

As a result, the total number of benefit recipients is also rising, and the country had 1.9 million recipients in the week of December 19 to 25, according to the most recent data available, also released on Thursday.

That’s 226,264 more than the week before, but it’s 10 times less than the 19 million last year around the same time.

In December, the unemployment rate fell to 3.9%, returning to close to its pre-pandemic level (3.5%). But job creation has lagged behind, and very strong inequalities.

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