While the Biden administration has touted a strong labor market as evidence for a strong economy, applications for unemployment benefits have been slowly rising over the past few weeks.
For the week ending on July 16, applications for jobless aid escalated to 251,000, representing a 7,000 application increase from the prior week’s 244,000, according to data released by the Labor Department.
The most recent data is also the highest number of applications that have been seen since November 13, 2021, approximately eight months ago, when approximately 265,000 Americans sent in an application for unemployment benefits.
Previously, analysts who had been surveyed by FactSet, a data firm, believed that the number of jobless benefits would total 242,000.
For the week ending on July 9, the number of Americans presently receiving unemployment benefits increased by 51,000 relative to the previous week. Currently, 1,384,000 Americans are receiving unemployment aid.
Earlier in the month, the Labor Department issued a report revealing that employers added 372,000 jobs in June, a fairly substantial gain, one that has effectively kept pace with the prior two months.
However, economists had expected the number of jobs offered to decline, given other signs of macroeconomic weakness throughout the economy.
Unemployment rates remain low overall, staying at 3.6 percent, which aligns with a near-50-year low achieved just before the pandemic, under the Trump administration.
At this point in time, two jobs are available for each unemployed individual.
Inflation continues to grow at an aggressive pace, with consumer prices skyrocketing to 9.1 percent in June relative to just a year earlier.
This increase represents the biggest annual increase since 1981, as reported by the government in the past week.
The Federal Reserve has responded to inflation with raising the national interest rate, including a half-point increase in May and an unusual three-quarter point increase in June.
When the central bank meets once again later this month, the expectation is for another interest rate increase of either half or three-quarters of a point.