(NewsNation) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits inched upward last week but the total number of Americans collecting benefits remained at its lowest level in more than five decades.
The latest report released by the Labor Department Thursday showed jobless claims rise by 1,000 to 203,000 last week. The four-week average of claims, which levels out week-to-week volatility, rose by 4,250 to 192,750.
The total number of Americans collecting jobless benefits for the week ending April 30 fell by 44,000 from the previous week to 1,343,000. That’s the fewest since January 3, 1970.
American workers are enjoying historically strong job security two years after the coronavirus pandemic plunged the economy into a brief but devastating recession. Weekly applications for unemployment aid have been consistently below the pre-pandemic level of 225,000 for most of 2022, even as the overall economy contracted in the first quarter.
This comes as inflation slowed in April after seven months of relentless gains, a sign that price increases may be peaking while still imposing a financial strain on American households.
Consumer prices jumped 8.3% last month from 12 months earlier, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That was below the 8.5% year-over-year surge in March, which was the highest rate since 1981.
America’s employers also extended a streak of hiring in April, adding 428,000 jobs despite surging inflation and interest rates. Hiring gains have been strikingly consistent in the face of the worst inflation in four decades, with employers adding at least 400,000 jobs for 12 straight months.
This story is developing. Refresh for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.