But the job market has remained strong. Employers added 261,000 jobs last month and are creating an average of nearly 407,000 a month this year. — on pace to make 2022 the second-best year for hiring (after 2021) in government records going back to 1940. There are nearly two job openings for every unemployed American. The unemployment rate is 3.7%, a couple of ticks above a half-century low.
New weekly applications for unemployment benefits were extremely low early this year -- staying below 200,000 for much of February, March and April. They began to tick up in late spring and hit 261,000 in mid-July before trending lower again.
“We expect layoffs to rise as demand softens in response to higher interest rates,'' Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said in a research report. “However, the move is likely to be gradual given businesses are still struggling with labor shortages and will be reluctant to cut their workforce.''
The Labor Department said Wednesday that 1.55 million people were receiving jobless aid the week that ended Nov. 12, up by 48,000 from the week before.