Jobless Claims Remain at Historically Low Levels

June 23, 2022 – The Labor Department reported that 229,000 Americans have filed new claims for state unemployment benefits, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 2,000 from 229,000 to 231,000. The four-week moving average was 223,500, an increase of 4,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 500 from 218,500 to 219,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 0.9 percent for the week, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week was 1,315,000, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 2,000 from 1,312,000 to 1,310,000. The four-week moving average was 1,310,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since Jan. 3, 1970 when it was 1,280,250. The previous week’s average was revised down by 500 from 1,317,500 to 1,317,000.

The U.S. central bank last week raised its policy rate by three-quarters of a percentage point, its biggest hike since 1994. The Fed has increased its benchmark overnight interest rate by 150 basis points since March.

The economy beat expectations and added 390,000 jobs last month. The country’s unemployment rate also remained at 3.6 percent, an ultralow level that is nearly where it was right before the pandemic struck more than two years ago.

“We think claims have probably found a new floor around the 225K mark, still a relatively low level but above the first quarter average. While labor markets remain tight and we expect job growth to continue even as the economy slows, reports of layoffs in some sectors are on the rise,” said economists with Oxford Economics.

Talent Shortages

Hiring optimism has returned to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic with employers in 36 of 40 countries reporting stronger hiring outlooks year-over-year according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey of more than 40,000 employers. Yet that optimism is being tempered by the highest levels of global talent shortages in 16 years with 75 percent of employers reporting difficulty filling vacancies, a six percent increase compared to this time last year. Employers report technology and data skills (29 percent) are the most difficult to find, followed by skilled workers in sales and marketing (22 percent), and operations and logistics (21 percent).

“While it’s encouraging to see employers have the intention to hire workers, it’s been increasingly difficult for them to find the talent they need,” said Jonas Prising, chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup. “On top of the skills gap challenge, employers are dealing with wage inflation and competition for workers, as many are switching industries altogether to better suit their lifestyle. On the ground, we continue to see talent shortages created by the pandemic, the Ukraine conflict starting to impact the supply chain, and greater uncertainty in the economic outlook.”

The U.S. (+38 percent) and Canada (+43 percent) report strong hiring levels for the third quarter. Employers in Canada report an increase in outlook compared to last quarter (+ six percent), the U.S. also shows a slight increase for the second quarter (+ three percent). Hiring managers in both countries expect hiring to be significantly stronger compared to intentions year over year, +24 percent in Canada and +nine percent in the U.S. In the U.S., employers in IT, tech, telecoms, communications and media (+59 percent), and banking, finance, insurance, and real estate (+45 percent) report the strongest outlooks while those in primary production (+26 percent) report the weakest.

Related: Talent Shortages Reach Highest Levels in 16 Years 

Within Central and South America, all eight countries report a positive employment outlook for the third quarter. Hiring intentions improved in seven countries when compared to the second quarter, weakening in one and, when compared to this time last year, improved in all eight countries. Mexico (+59 percent) reports the strongest hiring intention, followed by Brazil (+54 percent) and Colombia (+43 percent). The weakest prospects in the region are reported in Argentina (+21 percent), Peru (+32 percent), and Guatemala (+39 percent).

Within EMEA, employers report positive hiring intentions in 22 out of 23 countries during the next three months. Hiring intentions improve in 21 countries when compared with the third quarter of last year and improve in 15 when compared to the second quarter. The strongest hiring intentions are in Ireland (+42 percent), South Africa (+38 percent), and Portugal (+37 percent), and the weakest in Greece (-one percent), Poland (11 percent), and both Romania and Slovakia (+12 percent). In five U.K. industry sectors, employers report an increase in hiring intentions, and similarly, in nine of France’s industry sectors, employers report an increase.

Within APAC, in comparison to the previous quarter, hiring plans strengthened in four countries, and weakened in three countries. Strongest outlooks are in India (+51 percent), Singapore (+40 percent), and Australia (+38 percent), and the most cautious plans are reported in Taiwan (+ three percent) and Japan (+ four percent). Hong Kong (+11 percent) reports increased hiring intentions, improving eight percent compared to the second quarter, and 10 percent on the previous year. China expects hiring intentions to decrease in eight industry sectors, with banking, finance, insurance, and real estate (+ four percent) reporting the only increase.

Related: Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 3.6 Percent

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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