The U.S. economy isn’t short on jobs, but corporations are struggling to find qualified workers that can fill the openings they have available. With companies continuing to struggle with filling positions, a tight labor market continues and jobless claims edge higher amid other signs of an expanding economy

The “is unemployment down” is a question that has been asked for years. The answer is yes, but not as much as you might think. The U.S. jobless claims edged higher amid tight labor market.

U.S. Jobless Claims Edge Higher Amid Tight Labor Market

US-Jobless-Claims-Edge-Higher-Amid-Tight-Labor-Market

 

Last week, new claims for unemployment benefits in the United States increased marginally, reflecting a solid labor market in which firms are retaining their employees despite high demand.

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial jobless claims increased by 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 202,000 last week, up from a revised 188,000 the week before, matching the lowest level in more than 52 years achieved back in December. The volatility-smoothing four-week moving average fell to 208,500 from a revised 212,000.

For the week ending March 19, continuing claims, a proxy for the total number of persons getting compensation from state unemployment programs, fell marginally to 1.3 million from the previous week. With a one-week lag, continuing claims are disclosed.

“There’s a lot of momentum in the labor market,” said Navy Federal Credit Union’s corporate economist, Robert Frick. “Things are beginning to calm down since recruiting is picking up, but these are exciting times for employees.”

The monthly employment report provides crucial indications regarding the labor market and the economy as a whole, but it does not provide a complete picture. The Wall Street Journal explains how to read the study, what it contains, and what it does not. Liz Ornitz is the illustrator behind this image.

According to the Labor Department, employers had 11.3 million job opportunities in February, slightly less than the previous month’s record of 11.4 million. Because job postings have ceased expanding and salary growth has slowed, some economists believe that demand for employees has leveled off, although at a high level.

Despite an increase in Covid-19 instances linked to the Omicron form, employers created more than a million jobs in the first two months of the year.

In February of current year, the United States had 2.1 million fewer employment than it had in February of 2020, before the epidemic ravaged the economy.

If hiring continues at its current pace, payrolls should revert to pre-pandemic levels in the next four to five months, according to Mr. Frick.

The Labor Department’s March employment report, due out Friday, will include further details on hiring and pay growth, both of which are likely to have stayed solid.

According to economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, businesses created 490,000 jobs in March, down from 678,000 in February. According to their calculations, average hourly wages increased by 0.4 percent in March compared to the previous month, when pay growth was practically unchanged.

According to Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, an economist at Bard College, recruiting should grow simpler in the coming months as some individuals become less picky about the kind of employment they seek.

Mr. Papadimitriou said, “This is the moment for employees to have their choices realized—if they can be fulfilled.” “It won’t last much longer since they’ll have to go back to work at some point.”

Because of the lack of flexibility, some employees have avoided adopting positions in consumer services industries like as leisure and hospitality, according to Mr. Papadimitriou. In February, there were 1.7 million job openings in that industry, the second-highest number since December, when there were about 2 million.

“There isn’t much flexibility in those sorts of professions, and people want to be flexible,” Mr. Papadimitriou said, “but at least the salary regime has been increased there.”

Bryan Mena can be reached at [email protected]

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