US jobless claims inch down as labor market remains tight
The labor market continues to defy Federal Reserve attempts to cool hiring, with U.S. applications for unemployment benefits down again last week and remaining at historically low levels, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Jobless claims in the U.S. for the week ending March 18 fell by 1,000 to 191,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Last month, the government reported that employers added a substantial 311,000 jobs in February, fewer than January’s huge gain but enough to keep pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates aggressively to fight inflation. The unemployment rate rose to 3.6%, from a 53-year low of 3.4%.
In its latest quarterly projections, the Fed predicts that the unemployment rate will rise from its current 3.6% to 4.5% by year’s end, a sizable increase historically associated with recessions.