Latest weekly jobless claims jump to 240,000

CNN Business

First-time weekly jobless claims jumped to 240,000 for the week ended Nov. 19, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Labor. That’s a sharp increase of 17,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised tally of 222,000, and tops economists’ expectations of 225,000.

It’s the highest weekly total since Aug. 13, according to Labor Department data.

Continuing claims, which count people who applied for unemployment assistance for at least two consecutive weeks, rose to 1.55 million for the week ending November 12, hitting an eight-month high.

The number of jobless claims is near historic lows due to a labor market that has remained considerably tight, even as workers returned after pandemic-era shutdowns ended.

But this could change – and in the short term: large companies, in particular some of the biggest names in techhave started to carry out massive layoffs.

Still, those layoffs aren’t necessarily reflected in last week’s demands, as many workers in the tech industry are covered by severance packages, said Eugenio Alemán, chief economist at Raymond James. Alemán said he was looking for signs of a general increase in claims from other industries, in which workers are not typically covered by severance pay.
“And that still doesn’t happen today,” he said.

Weekly jobless claims are volatile — especially around holidays — and frequently revised, economists at Oxford Economics wrote in a note on Wednesday.

“As a result, we are not reading too much into the larger-than-expected decline in claims,” ​​they wrote.

On average, initial weekly jobless claims have been below 215,000 this year. And while last week’s 240,000 claims are an increase from that average, they’re still below the 250,000 weekly claims consistent with a good economy and well below the 300,000+ consistent with a recession, wrote Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s analytics. via email to CNN Business.

“I view the increase in layoffs through the prism of ‘bad news is good news’,” he wrote. “That is to say, the layoffs are terrible for those who lose their jobs, but it means that the labor market is cooling, which is essential to bring down inflation and prevent interest rate hikes. more aggressive by the Federal Reserve.”

Zandi said he expects to see more layoffs heading into the new year “as big companies in more industries start cutting payrolls.”

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