Last week, fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits

During the week ended May 28, the number of applications for unemployment benefits fell by 11,000 to 200,000.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Last week, fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits with the number of Americans collecting unemployment at a historically low level.

During the week ending May 28, the number of applications for unemployment benefits fell by 11,000 to 200,000, the labor ministry said Thursday. For the first time, applications usually track the number of layoffs.

The four-week average for claims, which equalizes some weekly volatility, fell 500 from the previous week to 206,500.

The total number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits for the week ended May 21 fell from the previous week to 1,309,000, the lowest number since December 27, 1969.

American workers enjoy historically strong job security two years after the coronavirus pandemic plunged the economy into a brief but devastating recession. Weekly applications for unemployment benefits were consistently below pre-pandemic levels of 225,000 for most of 2022, even as the overall economy shrank in the first quarter and inflation concerns persisted.

Last month, the government reported that America’s employers added 428,000 jobs in April, bringing the unemployment rate to 3.6%, slightly above the lowest level in half a century. Earnings have been extremely stable amid the worst inflation in four decades: employers have added at least 400,000 jobs over the 12 months in a row.

The government’s May report on jobs will be released on Friday, and many expect 400,000 jobs to be cut short. Economists polled the FactSet project, which in May in the US created 323,000 jobs, which will be the lowest in about a year and a half.

On Wednesday, a separate government report on employment said the number of vacancies across the economy in April was slightly lower, but remains much higher, at 11.4 million than the number of unemployed.

A healthy level of job creation shows that companies are still trying to increase staff and grow, even as inflation hovers around its 40-year high, and the Federal Reserve has embarked on what may be the fastest rate of interest rates since the 1980s. .

Last month, the government said U.S. producer prices rose 11% in April from a year earlier, significantly indicating high inflation that will remain a burden for consumers and businesses in the coming months.

Inflation at the consumer level fell slightly in April after months of relentless growth, but remained at about four decades high. Consumer prices jumped last month by 8.3% over the same period last year, slightly below the growth of 8.5% over the same period last year in March, which was the highest since 1981.

Earlier in May, the Federal Reserve stepped up the fight against inflation, raising the indicative short-term interest rate by half a percentage point, signaling a further large increase in rates.

There were some speculations that the Fed might consider suspending the rate hike at its September meeting, but such hopes were dashed after a report Wednesday by the Institute for Supply Management showing that output growth accelerated last month, contrary to economists’ expectations of a slowdown.

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