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U.S. initial jobless claims rise to highest level in a month amid constrained labor supply

Jun 18, 2021

Washington (US), June 18: After hitting pandemic lows in prior weeks, initial jobless claims in the United States unexpectedly rose to 412,000 last week, marking the highest level in a month, the labor department reported Thursday.
In the week ending June 12, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased by 37,000 from the previous week's downwardly revised level of 375,000, according to a report released by the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The four-week moving average, a method to iron out data volatility, decreased by 8,000 to 395,000.
The latest report also showed that the number of people continuing to collect regular state unemployment benefits in the week ending June 5 increased by 1,000 to reach 3.5 million. That number peaked in April and May last year, when it was over 20 million.
Meanwhile, the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs -- state and federal combined -- for the week ending May 29 decreased by 559,873 to reach 14.8 million, as the country continues to grapple with the fallout of the pandemic.
At a virtual news conference on Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell cited four factors that seem likely to be "holding back labor supply": finding a new job, which is a process that takes longer as workers match their skills to what employers want; fear of returning to work, which should "diminish" as vaccinations move ahead; lingering childcare needs; and federal supplements to unemployment insurance.
"You put all those together, I would expect that we would see strong job creation, building up over the summer and going into the fall," Powell said.
The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday kept its benchmark interest rates unchanged at the record-low level of near zero, reiterating that the surge in inflation is "transitory" and resisting sending out signals on the timeline to taper its bond-buying program.
Despite being bullish about the economy, Powell told reporters "we are not out of the woods at this point." He said it is "premature to declare victory" and encouraged people to continue getting vaccinated.
Source: Xinhua