First-time applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, as fears over the new Omicron variant, coupled with a rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations across some states, spill into the labour market.
The Department of Labour on Thursday reported that initial jobless claims were up 18,000 to 206,000 for the week ending on December 11, modestly surpassing estimates from economists polled by Bloomberg whom called for 200,000 applications.
Continuing claims, which typically run one week behind the initial claims data, fell 154,000 to 1.845 million, marking the lowest level since March 14 of last year. Both figures have been keeping in line with the improving labour market, which is nearing pre-pandemic levels and even prompted the Federal Reserve to withdrawal its unprecedented monetary support.
Still, the past several weeks have been volatile for claims data, suggesting that challenges still persist with respect to adjusting raw figures for seasonal fluctuations during the holiday period. Moreover, an increase in hospitalizations related to Covid-19, as well as rising uncertainty over the Omicron variant threaten to disrupt the strengthening labour market.
Information for this briefing was found via the DOL. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.