The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims totaled 206,000 in the week ending Dec. 11 as the tight labor market continues to recover, though it remains far from pre-pandemic levels.
The Labor Department figure shows an 18,000 claim increase compared to the week ending Dec. 4 when jobless claims reached 184,000. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected claims to increase to just 195,000 from the previous week’s figure.
Companies have had difficulty retaining workers amid a busy holiday season and surging COVID-19 cases. The quits rate declined to 4.7% in November, but job openings remained near record highs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.
“It’s a tight labor market because of quits and a reluctance to go back to work, which are mainly because of Covid,” Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union, told the WSJ.
“We’ve found that job seeker interest has just been more toward higher-wage sectors and job sectors where there’s a high possibility of working remotely,” AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at the job-search site Indeed, told the WSJ.
Meanwhile, the U.S. economy added just 210,000 jobs in October, well below experts’ projections of 573,000. Unemployment also dropped to 4.2% in November from October’s 4.6% figure.
Prices continue to surge in the U.S, with the Consumer Price Index increasing to its highest year-over-year level in 30 years in October. The Producer Price Index, which measures inflation before it hits the consumer, soared 9.6% on a year-over-year basis in November, the fastest rate ever measured.
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