It is encouraging to see an increase in American job seekers applying for unemployment benefits last week, but the rate remained low, suggesting a strong job market.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week rose by 7,000 to 207,000. Claims jumped more than 4,800 to just under 205,000 on a four-week average, which smooths out fluctuations from week to week. In spite of the increases in weekly claims, the number is still lower than the typical 220,000 before the pandemic hit the U.S. economy in March 2020.
So far, no significant layoffs have been reported due to the highly transmissible omicron variant.
Over the course of the week ending Dec. 25, approximately 1.8 million Americans received traditional unemployment benefits.
Employers often have a hard time letting go of workers when they’re having trouble replacing them. According to records going back to 2000, 10.6 million job openings were recorded in November, which is the fifth highest monthly number. It is heartening to see a record number of Americans quit their jobs in November, a sign that their confidence is high enough to pursue better jobs.
After a brief but intense recession caused by the Coronavirus last year, the job market has recovered. Consumers and businesses alike were affected by COVID as governments imposed lockdowns, consumers holed up at home and many businesses reduced their hours. During March and April 2020, companies shed more than 22 million jobs, and the unemployment rate soared to 14.8%.
The rollout of vaccines and massive government spending eventually helped revive the economy. US employers have added 18.5 million jobs since April 2020, while the number of people leaving the country continues to rise.
There are still 3.9 million jobs in the country less than before the pandemic struck. A survey done by the data firm FactSet indicated that economists expect Friday’s jobs report to reveal that the economy created another 400,000 jobs in December.
Economic experts consider full employment to be when the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.2%.