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U.S. Jobless Claims Down 30K to 260K in Jan. 22 Week

Filings for unemployment benefits fell early this year as the tight labor market, with low layoffs and plentiful job openings, faced the disruptions caused by the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, fell to 260,000 for the week ended Jan. 22, a decrease of 30,000 from the revised level the week before, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week moving average, which smooths volatility, edged slightly higher that same week.

After declining through most of 2021, the number of new claims reached the lowest point in five decades by December. More recently, claims had moved higher as the Omicron variant began to ratchet up the number of Covid-19 cases throughout the country, causing some workers to call in sick, businesses to temporarily shut down and schools to pivot to online learning.

Some economists attributed the increase to volatility in the data while others saw it as a consequence of the Omicron variant. Claims are well down from a year ago, when more than 800,000 applications were filed a week.
Source: Dow Jones

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