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Unemployment claims to hit record high in 2022

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number of Americans applying unemployment benefits This is the latest sign that a historically tight labor market is starting to cool.

Labor Department figures released on Thursday showed 262,000 applications filed for the week ended Aug. 6, up from a downwardly revised 248,000 recorded a week earlier. This is above the 2019 pre-pandemic average of 218,000 and the highest level since mid-November.

The number of Americans who continue to file or receive unemployment assistance in a row rose slightly to 1,428,000 in the week ending July 30, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week’s revised level. did. A year ago, about 12.96 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits.

For months, the labor market has been one of the economy’s few bright spots, with the July jobs report showing the unemployment rate dropping to 3.5%. That’s his lowest level since February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic brought large-scale economic activity to a halt. area of ​​the US economy. Meanwhile, employers have added a staggering 528,000 jobs. That’s almost double what economists expected.

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job fair recruit

A man hands out a resume to an employer at the 25th Annual Central Florida Employment Council Job Fair at the Central Florida Fairgrounds. Over 80 companies were recruiting for his 1,000+ jobs. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images/Getty Images)

But Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Walmart, Apple, Meta, Microsoft and many others have announced hiring freezes and layoffs in recent weeks, a sign that the labor market is starting to weaken.

“A growing risk to the market outlook is the rising trend of individuals filing for unemployment benefits,” said Jeffrey Roach, chief economist at LPL Financial. It has risen modestly over the past four months, suggesting a further slowdown in the labor market is likely over the second half of the year.”

Concerns are growing that the U.S. economy is on the brink of, or is already in, a recession. Federal Reserve Inflation WarThe central bank is raising interest rates at its fastest pace in decades to cool consumer prices, which rose 8.5% in July.

Looking for billboards in Deleware

A “Hiring” sign hangs in front of a restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, March 19, 2022. (Stephanie Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

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Approval of policy makers At its July meeting, a massive 75 basis point rate hike, tripling the usual rate, followed by suggesting that this tightening cycle was “far from” ending despite signs of economic slowdown. ing.