Fewer Americans claim unemployment benefits last week | Radio WGN 720

FILE – Marriott human resources recruiter Mariela Cuevas, left, speaks with Lisbet Oliveros, during a job fair at Hard Rock Stadium, Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Last month, U.S. employers may have cut jobs for the first time in about a year, raising alarm bells about the economy’s trajectory. Yet even if the January jobs report to be released on Friday, February 3, 2022 were to show a deep loss of jobs, there would be little mystery as to the likely culprit: a wave of omicron infections that led millions of workers to stay at home. consumers sick and discouraged from venturing out to spend and have likely frozen hiring at many companies – even those that want to fill jobs. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, reflecting a low number of layoffs across the economy.

Unemployment claims fell 18,000 to 215,000 for the week ending Feb. 26, from 233,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The four-week average of claims, which offsets weekly volatility, fell from 6,000 to 230,500.

A total of 1,476,000 Americans were receiving unemployment assistance the week ending February 12, a slight increase of 2,000 from the revised number the previous week, which was its lowest level since March 14. 1970.

Early claims for unemployment assistance generally keep pace with layoffs, which have returned to fairly healthy pre-pandemic levels.

The Ministry of Labor publishes its February employment report on Friday. Analysts polled by financial data firm FactSet predict the US economy added 400,000 jobs last month.

In January, the US economy added 467,000 jobs and revised up December and November gains by a total of 709,000. The unemployment rate stands at 4%, a historically low figure.

The US economy has rebounded strongly from the recession caused by the 2020 coronavirus. Massive government spending and the rollout of the vaccine have revived the economy, with employers creating a record 6.4 million jobs last year . The U.S. economy grew 5.7% in 2021, growing last year at the fastest annual rate since a 7.2% rise in 1984, which also followed a recession.

Inflation is also at its highest level in 40 years – 7.5% year-on-year – leading the Federal Reserve to ease its monetary support for the economy. The Fed said it would begin a series of interest rate hikes this month in a bid to rein in soaring prices.

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