The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits for the first time rose slightly last week to 207,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The number was above estimates of 199,000 and compares with the revised 200,000 recorded in the previous week.
The four-week moving average was 204,500, an increase of 4,750 from the revised average of the prior week.
The report comes a day before the department releases its monthly job data for December, the latest reading for 2021. On Wednesday, private payroll processor ADP reported its monthly survey of jobs created, with a whopping 807,000 new positions filled. . That was more than double the forecast.
The improvement in the labor outlook was cited on Wednesday by the Federal Reserve Board, which issued its monthly minutes of the last central bank meeting in mid-December, showing unanimity on its plan to reduce monthly purchases of Treasuries and bonds. backed by $ 120 billion mortgages as a prelude to interest rate hikes this year.
Political cartoons about the economy
“Participants pointed to a number of signs that the US labor market was very tight, including near-record resignation and job vacancy rates, as well as a notable pickup in wage growth,” the minutes read.
Although jobs are plentiful and companies are hiring, “there are still millions of people out of work,” says Scott Brown, Raymond James’ chief economist. “It’s kind of a mixed bag, it’s hard to match these people and skills.”
Brown says he doubts that the labor participation rate, the number of people in the workforce as a percentage of the total working-age adult population, will go back to the level it was before the coronavirus in March 2020. They are many, but The main ones are the need for some people to stay home to care for families, higher-than-normal retirement rates among baby boomers, and restrictive immigration policies that have been in place for several years.