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A woman walks past a “Now Hiring” sign in front of a store on January 13, 2022 in Arlington, Va. Initial unemployment claims increased by 14,000 to 202,000 in the week ended March 26, Labor Department data showed Thursday.

A woman walks past a “Now Hiring” sign in front of a store on January 13, 2022 in Arlington, Va. Initial unemployment claims increased by 14,000 to 202,000 in the week ended March 26, Labor Department data showed Thursday. (Olivier Douliery, AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

(Tribune News Service) — Applications for U.S. state unemployment insurance rose by more than forecast last week, likely a blip in what’s otherwise a tight and recovering labor market.

Initial unemployment claims increased by 14,000 to 202,000 in the week ended March 26, Labor Department data showed Thursday. The median estimate called for 196,000 applications in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Continuing claims for state benefits fell to 1.3 million in the week ended March 19.

The rise in applications likely reflects the choppiness of the data week to week, as employers are desperately trying to retain workers and attract new ones. Claims — which hit the lowest level since 1969 in the prior period — have been trending downward for most of the year alongside declining Covid-19 cases, and the combination of dwindling savings and decades-high inflation is raising the financial incentive to work.

The data precedes the government’s Friday employment report, which is currently forecast to show the U.S. added about half a million jobs in March and the unemployment rate fell to 3.7%. A separate report Wednesday showed U.S. companies added 455,000 jobs this month, according to ADP Research Institute.

A separate report Thursday showed U.S. inflation-adjusted consumer spending declined in February, suggesting the fastest pace of price increases in four decades is tempering demand.

On an unadjusted basis, initial claims increased to 195,460 last week.

California, Michigan and Ohio were states registering the biggest increases in unadjusted claims.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

Visit bloomberg.com. 

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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