Applications for US state unemployment insurance jumped last week to a three-month high, signaling that the Omicron variant has a bigger impact on the labor market.
- Initial unemployment claims rose by 55,000 to 286,000 in the week ended Jan.15. The figure surpassed all estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists.
- Continuing claims for state benefits increased to 1.64 million in the week ended Jan.8. The increase in applications signals employers laying off staff during the most recent expansion in Covid cases.
- Claims figures have been shaky in the last few weeks, signaling challenges adjusting for seasonal variations during the holiday period. The surge in claims last week was the largest in six months.
Claims dropped 83,418 to 337,417 last week on an unadjusted basis. New York, Missouri, and Texas were posted the biggest declines in unadjusted claims. California posted the largest surge in applications.
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Source: US Department of Labor