The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits went up last week to the highest level since mid-November.
U.S. jobless claims climbed by 23,000 last week to 230,000, still low by historic standards. CNBC reported last week that claims were already on the rise and expected then to hit the 207,000 mark, which the country has now already surpassed.
The four-week moving average, which smooths out week-to-week blips, was up nearly 6,300 to almost 211,000. The weekly applications, a proxy for layoffs, have now risen four of the last five weeks, possibly a sign that the omicron variant is having an impact on the job market, which has bounced strongly from last year’s coronavirus recession.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, a tight U.S. labor market during the pandemic is also to blame, stifling applications at near pre-pandemic levels for at least the past two months. Fear seems to be holding steady amid the omicron variant's appearance as many are reportedly staying out of work because of the fear of getting sick, which has disrupted the air travel industry, and pushed many schools back to remote learning, WSJ noted.