WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the U.S. job market remains resilient despite four decades of high inflation and a host of other economic stresses.
Jobless claims for the week ended June 18 fell to 229,000, down 2,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Initial applications usually reflect the number of layoffs.
The four-week moving average for claims, which smoothes some of the week-to-week volatility, rose 4,500 from the previous week to 223,500.
The total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits in the week ended June 11 was 1,315,000, up 5,000 from the previous week. That number has been hovering near 50-year lows for months.
Much of the recent job security and wage increases Americans have enjoyed have been offset by levels of inflation not seen in four decades.
In early June, the Labor Department reported that consumer prices rose 8.6% last month — even more than in April — from a year earlier. The Federal Reserve responded last week by raising its main borrowing rate – its main tool to combat rising prices – by three-quarters of a point. This rise comes on top of a half-point rise in early May.
Three weeks ago, the government reported that US employers added 390,000 jobs in May, extending a string of solid hiring that has been bolstering a troubled economy. Although job growth was healthy in May, it was the slowest monthly increase in a year and there were signs more layoffs could be on the way, at least in some sectors.
Jobless claims in recent weeks, while still relatively low, were the highest since the first few weeks of 2022.
Online auto retailer Carvana announced last month that it was laying off about 2,500 employees, about 12% of its workforce. Online real estate broker Redfin, which is feeling the pressure of a real estate market that has cooled due to higher interest rates, said last week it would lay off 8% of its employees.
These cuts have spread to companies in the cryptocurrency space, with bitcoin and other digital asset prices skyrocketing in recent months.
Crypto trading platform Coinbase Global announced last week that it plans to cut about 1,100 jobs, or about 18% of its global workforce, as part of a restructuring to manage its operating expenses in response to current market conditions.
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