June 29 (UPI) — U.S. data from Thursday show inflationary pressures aren’t severe enough to curb hiring, with the number of first-time claims of unemployment dropping from week-ago levels, but long-term claims are mounting.
The Labor Department reported first-time claims of unemployment came in at 239,000 for the seven-day period ending June 24, a decline of 26,000 from the prior week.
Weekly jobless claims fell to a one-month low and more than half of the U.S. states saw a decline.
That comes amid expectations that rate hikes from the Federal Reserve could slow the economy enough to trigger widespread layoffs. So far, however, policies at the Fed have yet to translate to job losses.
“While the jobs-to-workers gap has declined, labor demand still substantially exceeds the supply of available workers,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday.
Deeper in the data, however, may show some cause for concern for job prospects. The less-volatile, four-week moving average was revised higher by 1,500 from the prior week to reach 257,000.
“This is the highest level for this average since November 13, 2021 when it was 260,000,” the Labor Department’s report read.
While federal data on jobless claims do not include economic sectors, the tech sector has seen increased pressure this year. Meta, the parent company of Facebook, and EA, the video game company, announced significant layoffs earlier this year.
Spotify, meanwhile, said in early June it was cutting about 2% of its workforce as part of a “strategic alignment” largely in its podcast division.
The situation is equally grim for those without a paycheck for consecutive weeks. “Continued weeks” claimed during the week ending June 10, the last week for which the federal government provided data, increased 22,947 from the prior week to reach 1.7 million.
“There were 1,313,892 weekly claims filed for benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2022,” the Labor Department stated.