number of Americans applying unemployment benefits Last week’s data saw its biggest drop since 2021 as fraudulent claims in Massachusetts boosted the previous week’s figures.
published figures Thursday The number of first-time applications for the week ending May 13 fell by 22,000 to 242,000, well above the pre-pandemic average of 218,000 in 2019, according to the Labor Department.
The number of continuing applications filed by Americans who continue to receive unemployment benefits fell to 1.79 million in the week ending May 6, down 6,000 from the previous week.
It’s hard for some economists to get a clear picture of what’s happening in the labor market after Massachusetts officials admit they’re “facing increased fraudulent claim activity” over unemployment benefits. I warn you.
For months, the labor market has remained a strength in a slowing economy despite the government’s aggressive campaign to raise interest rates. Federal Reserve.
But even without the noise from the fraudulent Massachusetts data, there are signs that things are starting to calm down.
“To gauge true signals from early unemployment claims, Bank of America economists have constructed an early unemployment claims series that excludes Massachusetts,” Bank of America economists said in a memo. . “Initial unemployment claims have continued to trend upward in recent weeks, but the rate of increase has slowed.”
Layoffs are on the rise and job openings are down. Employment figures rose faster than expected in April, but unemployment claims have also risen steadily. Economists widely expect the unemployment rate to rise further as a result of the sharp rise in interest rates. coerce the consumer And businesses will cut back on spending.
of Latest forecast Officials expect the unemployment rate to rise to 4.6% from the current 3.5% by the end of next year, the Fed said in a statement.
That means more than a million Americans could lose their jobs between now and the end of the year.
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Policymakers last week approved a 10th consecutive rate hike, taking the federal funds rate to its highest level since August 2007.