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US Jobless Claims Remain Near Historic Low

Unemployment claims fell last week, remaining near their record low level, an indication of a tight American labor market even amid the threat of a recession.

According to figures in a Thursday (June 23) press release from the Department of Labor, initial jobless claims dropped to 229,000 last week from 231,000 the previous week.

As PYMNTS reported earlier this month, those numbers were above the pre-pandemic average of 218,000 for the first time since January.

Read more: Labor Dept Says Unemployment Applications Top Pre-Pandemic Levels

Unemployment claims have been creeping up since reaching a historic, 53-year low in the middle of March, when the seasonally adjusted number for initial claims was at 187,000. That’s the lowest since 1969, when it was at 182,000.

See more: US Jobless Claims Dip to Lowest Level in 53 Years

Meanwhile, the figures show that continued claims — people already receiving state unemployment benefits — rose to 1.3 million for the week ending June 11.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont, said the new numbers indicate either that permanent layoffs are still low or that if layoffs are rising, workers are quickly finding new positions.

“Either way, the bottom line would be that the labor market remains strong,” he said, per the report.

Earlier this week, PYMNTS reported that small business owners are struggling to fill positions, even as larger companies are still seeing strong employment.

Read more: Inflation Hobbles SMBs’ Ability to Find, Hire Workers

Inflation isn’t helping matters, as these smaller companies are finding it tough to offer salaries and benefits large employers can match, leading 76% of owners to increase wages.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said it is possible the economy will remain fraught as 2022 continues.

“We’ve had high inflation so far this year, and that locks in higher inflation for the rest of the year,” she said Sunday (June 19).

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