Jobless claims tick up

Your Money

A hiring sign offers a $500 bonus outside a McDonalds restaurant, in Cranberry Township, Butler County, Pa., Wednesday, May 5, 2021. U.S. employers posted a record number of available jobs in March, starkly illustrating the desperation of businesses to hire more people as the economy expands. Yet total job gains increased only modestly that month, according to a Labor Department report issued Tuesday, May 11. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) —  More Americans applied for jobless aid last week, but the number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits stayed near its five-decade low.

The latest report released by the Labor Department Thursday showed jobless claims tick up by 27,000 to 229,000. The four-week average of claims, which levels out week-to-week volatility, decreased by 8,000 to 215,000.

American workers are enjoying historically strong job security two years after the coronavirus pandemic plunged the economy into a short 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 and concerns over inflation persist.

This comes as America’s employers extended a hiring streak in May, adding 390,000 jobs amid skyrocketing inflation and mounting fears of a potential economic backslide.

The report last week from the Labor Department showed that last month’s job growth kept the unemployment rate to 3.6%, the same rate as the prior two reports and the lowest level since the pandemic erupted two years ago. The solid hiring streak has bolstered an economy under pressure from high inflation and interest rates.

The job growth in May, though healthy, was the lowest monthly gain in a year. But it was high enough to keep the Fed on track to pursue what’s likely to be the fastest series of rate hikes in more than 30 years.

Inflation at the consumer level eased slightly in April after months of relentless increases but remained near a four-decade high. Consumer prices jumped 8.3% last month from a year ago, just below the 8.5% year-over-year surge in March, which was the highest since 1981.

Earlier in May, the Federal Reserve intensified its fight against inflation by raising its benchmark short-term interest rate by a half-percentage point, signaling further large rate hikes to come.

The Fed meets again next week.

This story is developing. Refresh for updates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

© 1998 - 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNation

Elections 2022

More Elections 2022