The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims decreased to 232,000 in the week ending Feb. 19, the Labor Department announced Thursday.
The Labor Department’s figure showed a decrease of 17,000 compared to the week ending Feb. 12, when claims increased to 249,000. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones estimated that new claims reported Thursday would total 235,000.
Last week’s jobless claim figure marked the first increase after three straight weeks of decline as the Omicron coronavirus variant caused workers to call in sick and businesses to temporarily close.
The U.S. economy has shown some signs of strength in recent weeks, however, adding 467,000 jobs in January while wages rose 5.7% on a year-over-year basis, well above the 3% pre-pandemic average, the Labor Department announced Feb. 4.
Meanwhile, retail sales surged 3.8% in January, marking the largest monthly increase since March 2021, and a significant snapback from December’s decrease of 2.5%, the Commerce Department announced Feb. 16.
Consumer spending also grew in January while shoppers faced the highest prices in nearly 40 years, with the Consumer Price Index surging 0.6% in January to 7.5% on an annual basis.
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