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Weekly jobless claims edged up last week, but the labor market remains robust


By Lucy Bayly, CNN

First-time applications for unemployment benefits rose last week to 196,000, a slightly higher total than the 190,000 that economists were expecting — but still a historically low number.

Despite widely publicized layoffs from tech giants, media companies and the financial sector in recent weeks, the US labor market remains robust after eight rate hikes in 11 months meant to cool the economy.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell vowed on Tuesday to continue hiking interest rates as long as necessary to tamp down historic inflation. While the central bank’s actions so far have slowed business investment and flash-frozen parts of the housing market, it has not crushed America’s white-hot jobs market.

In a State of the Union speech on Tuesday, President Joe Biden noted that the US economy has gained more than 12 million jobs since he took office one year into the pandemic. Last week’s jobs report data showed a whopping 517,000 positions were added in January, with widespread job gains across several sectors.

With 1.9 jobs available for every job seeker as of December, even the slew of layoffs among companies who overhired during the pandemic has not so far led to any meaningful impact on the labor market.

While weekly jobless claims data can be volatile and is frequently revised, recent totals have remained historically low.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Business/Consumer

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