U.S. Jobless Claims Increase to 1.718 Million, Unemployment Rate Predicted to Reach Recessionary Levels

The U.S. Labor Department said initial jobless claims increased to 211,000 last week, up from 190,000 the week before.[0] This figure was significantly higher than the expected 195,000, and the increase of 21,000 was the most in five months. The four-week moving average, which flattens week-to-week volatility, rose to 197,000, a six-week high.[1]

Continuing jobless claims, representing the number of people already receiving benefits, were at 1.72 million during the week ending Feb. 25, rising by 69,000 from the previous week's revised level. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate for the week ending February 25 was 1.2%, a 0.1% increase from the previous week's rate that was unchanged.

Applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. for the week ending March 4 were up by 69,000 to 1.718 million, the Labor Department said Thursday. This is the highest number recorded in two months. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending February 25 was 1,718,000, an increase of 69,000 from the previous week's revised level.

The Federal Reserve has increased its benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points nine times consecutively in its ongoing fight against persistent inflation.[1] This has led to higher mortgage rates of over 6 percent, which has slowed home sales for 12 straight months.[1]

The U.S. labor market is still robust, however there have been increasing layoffs in the technology sector due to companies overhiring following the pandemic boom.[1] Recent months have seen layoffs announced by IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce, Facebook parent Meta, Twitter, and DoorDash.[1] Fed policymakers anticipate that the unemployment rate will reach 4.6% by the close of this year, a figure usually linked with recessions.[1]

It is anticipated that the jobs report on Friday will demonstrate that the U.S. economy added 208,000 more jobs in February.[2] The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs on an unadjusted basis reached 237.5K in the week ending March, an increase of 35,357 from the prior week.[3] It was predicted that there would be an increase of 11,791 from the previous week due to seasonal factors.[4]

0. “US Jobless Claims Jump to 211,000, Highest Level Since December – Bloomberg” Bloomberg, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-09/us-jobless-claims-jump-to-211-000-highest-level-since-december

1. “Applications for US unemployment benefits have increased the most in the past five months” Yid Info, 9 Mar. 2023, https://yidinfo.net/applications-for-us-unemployment-benefits-have-increased-the-most-in-the-past-five-months/

2. “Applications for U.S. jobless aid rise by most in 5 months” Toledo Blade, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.toledoblade.com/business/labor/2023/03/09/applications-for-us-jobless-aid-rise-by-most-in-5-months/stories/20230309094

3. “New Unemployment Claims Grow As Tech Layoffs Escalate, Fed Tries To Cool Economy – Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG)” Benzinga, 8 Mar. 2023, https://www.benzinga.com/government/23/03/31275870/new-unemployment-claims-grow-as-tech-layoffs-escalate-fed-tries-to-cool-economy

4. “Jobless claims rise more than expected in past week” Seeking Alpha, 9 Mar. 2023, https://seekingalpha.com/news/3945927-jobless-claims-rise-more-than-expected-in-past-week

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