More Americans are filing jobless claims, according to the Labor Department. Claims as of July 30 rose by 6,000 to 260,000 from the previous week’s 254,000.
At the same time, the number of job openings in the country fell to its lowest number since September 2021. The latest survey shows openings fell to about 10.7 million through the last day of June, a decline of 605,000 or 5.4%.
The labor market numbers are the latest in a string of economic data furthering fears of a contracting economy. Last week, the latest GDP numbers shows a second straight quarter of negative growth, hinting that the U.S. was in recession despite assurances from the Biden administration.
The jobless claims, as reported by the Associated Press, come despite the job market being one of the stronger economic measures in the current economy.
Applications for jobless aid for the week ending July 30 rose by 6,000 to 260,000 from the previous week’s 254,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. First-time applications generally reflect layoffs.
The four-week average for claims, which evens out the weekly ups and downs, also rose from the previous week, to 254,750.
The total number of Americans collecting jobless benefits for the week ending July 23 rose by 48,000 from the previous week, to 1,416,000. That figure has been near 50-year lows for months.
Along with the jobless claims rising and job openings falling, job hiring also slowed.
Hiring also slowed during the month, dropping 2% to 6.37 million, while the level of quits, an indicator of worker mobility and confidence, was little changed but well off record levels seen earlier this year. Separations also edged lower, falling by 1.4% to 5.93 million.
Federal Reserve officials watch the JOLTS numbers closely as they assess the future path of the labor market and how that might influence interest rates. The Fed has enacted four interest rate increases this year totaling 2.25 percentage points in an effort to control inflation that has run at its fastest rate since November 1981.
Job numbers for July are expected to be released tomorrow, with economists projecting more than 250,000 created jobs. But with more than 10 million job openings and a rising number of jobless claims, those numbers may not be strong enough.
The Biden administration has maintained that the labor market’s strength is what will keep America out of a recession, but with inflation still at record highs and outpacing wage growth, Americans still feel pain at the cash register. Polling has consistently shown that Americans already feel like America is in a recession or soon will be in one, despite what the Biden administration claims.