WASHINGTON, Jan 28 (NNN-AGENCIES) – Initial jobless claims in the U.S. fell to 260,000, after hitting a three-month high amid Omicron surge, the U.S. Labour Department reported yesterday.
In the week ending Jan 22, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 30,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised level of 290,000, according to a report released by the department’s Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS).
Prior to that, the figure had been rising for three weeks in a row, as the fast-spreading COVID-19 Omicron variant continued to disrupt labour market recovery. In the week ending Jan 15, initial jobless claims hit the highest level since mid-Oct.
“Initial unemployment claims fell to 260,000 for the week ending Jan 22, but remained well above the lows hit in Dec,” Diane Swonk, chief economist at major accounting firm, Grant Thornton, wrote.
“This ups the ante on a very weak employment report for the month of Jan, and likely understates the weakness for the month as a record number of people sickened from Omicron or were caring for others who were sick,” Swonk said.
The four-week moving average, a method to iron out data volatility, increased by 15,000 to 247,000, according to the BLS report.
The latest jobless claims report also showed that, the number of people continuing to collect regular state unemployment benefits in the week ending Jan 15, increased by 51,000 to 1.675 million. That number peaked in Apr and May in 2020, when it was over 20 million.
The total number of people claiming benefits in all programmes – state and federal combined – for the week ending Jan 8 rose by 8,444 to 2.14 million.– NNN-AGENCIES