First-Time Unemployment Claims Dropped Last Week

Several interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve don’t seem to be hurting the job market much.

According to statistics released by the U.S. Labor Department Thursday, fewer Americans are applying for unemployment benefits.

The report by the Labor Department showed 4,000 fewer U.S. workers applied for first-time unemployment benefits during the week ending Nov. 12. The total dropped to 222,000 from 226,000 the previous week. The four-week moving average rose slightly, however, by 2,000 applicants to 221,000.

The total number of Americans collecting unemployment assistance rose by 13,000 to a total of 1.5 million in the week ending Nov. 5. That’s the highest it’s been in seven months.

Applications for jobless claims, which generally represent layoffs in the U.S., have remained historically low this year, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Steady hiring, solid pay growth and low unemployment have been good for workers, but have contributed to rising prices, the AP reported.

The government also said last week consumer inflation reached 7.7% in October from a year earlier, the smallest year-over-year gain since January, according to the AP report.

Prices at the wholesale level rose 8% in October from a year ago, the fourth straight decline and the latest sign that inflation pressures in the United States are easing. The annual figure is down from 8.4% in September.

Though those numbers are still too high for an otherwise healthy economy, they came in lower than economists expected, the AP reported, providing hope that the Fed will ease up on future rate hikes.