End of March Sees Unexpected Rise in Claims for Unemployment Benefits
The number of American workers submitting unemployment claims for the week ending March 29 rose to a five-week high of 326,000, up 16,000. This spike comes after reaching a nearly six-month low of a revised 310,000 applications filed the prior week. Additional hiring may result as demand increases from the lull due to abnormally cold weather. Layoffs continue to remain low and economists expect that more companies are taking on workers than at any point in the past four months.
“Layoffs are still very, very low,” said Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. “Claims are pointing toward an improvement in the job market. It’s evidence that the economy’s struggles this year were temporary.”
Forty two states and territories reported a claims decrease with 11 reporting increases during the week ending March 22. The U.S. Labor Department reports that payrolls rose by nearly 200,000 in March, the most since last November.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen expressed that the job market “still feels like a recession to many Americans,” further stating:
“The numbers of people who have been trying to find work for more than six months or more than a year are much higher today than they ever were since records began decades ago. While there has been steady progress, there is also no doubt that the economy and the job market are not back to normal health.”
Some employers continue to put more efforts into boosting productivity rather than hiring, and in some cases have reduced workforces amid decreased earnings. Even more than five years after the official end of the recession, financial services companies continue to shrink payrolls.