Weekly US unemployment benefits were at their highest level since mid-January, but the rise did not signal concerns about the country’s labor market.
In particular, in the week ended June 4, 229,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits, a number that increased by 27,000 from last week’s upward revision and significantly more than the analysts estimate for 220,000.
The last time new unemployment benefit applications were at these levels was around six months ago, on January 15th.
At the same time, however, applications for an extension of an existing allowance, measured one week apart from the new one, remained unchanged at just over 1.3 million and below FactSet’s estimate of 1.35 million.
Moreover, the four-week moving average for existing benefits claims fell slightly to 1.32 million, its lowest level since January 10, 1970.
The weekly increase in benefits comes less than a week after it was announced that wages outside the agricultural sector rose by 390,000 in May, well above estimates.
Overall, companies in the US continued to recruit despite growing concerns that the country’s economy could lead to recession, explosive inflation and bottlenecks in the global supply chain.
It is recalled that the US Federal Reserve is in the early stages of a cycle of raising interest rates, aimed at reducing inflation from a high of about 40 years.
Fed officials hope their intervention will not lead to a rise in the unemployment rate, which stands at 3.6% and close to its lowest level since 1969.