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U.S. unemployment rises again

The U.S. Labor Department reported jobless claims totaling 286,000 since Jan. 15, marking the highest unemployment rate in a 3-month span.

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Americans experienced another hit to the job market on Thursday in the latest omicron setbacks that left many reapplying for unemployment aid.

Unemployment claims reached their highest point since October, when the nation began to see a temporary return to work. In just one week, claims rose from 231,000 to 286,000 applicants, the Labor Department reported.

Layoffs in the final weeks of December 2021 had reached their lowest rate in 50 years, and economists saw jobless claims drop to its pre-pandemic level of about 220,000 per week.

Since Jan. 8, the Labor Department reported the initial average of those receiving unemployment aid is about 1.6 million people.

The Labor Department said states that saw the highest unemployment rates following Jan. 1 were Alaska, Minnesota, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Oregon.

Pressed for work

Frustration across the country lingers as supply-chains attempt to divert multiple shortages, and employers try to retain talent while operating on short staff. This is despite last November posting nearly 10.6 million open positions in a booming job market.

Americans in 2021 quit their jobs at a rapid rate in hopes of better opportunities available, but many face the struggle of a slowed hiring process in several industries.

Employers are also scrambling to find replacements for current employees calling out sick at a large volume. In Philadelphia, service jobs, travel, and health care have felt the pandemic squeeze.

According to MarketWatch, Jefferies economists told its clients that part of the unemployment claims can be attributed as a “seasonal issue.” Still, they said the rise is a slight reason for concern.

“As we get into late-January and February, this seasonal issue will be less of a problem and it will be easier to take claims at face value. But for now, it is appropriate to be a bit skeptical or strength or weakness in claims,” they wrote.

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