US jobless claims unexpectedly increased in January

The US weekly jobless claims unexpectedly rose last week, increasing 23,000 to 248,000, beating forecast for 219,000 increase and remaining above previous week’s figure, upwardly revised to 225,000.

Although the number of Americans filling new claims for jobless benefits rose, it remains within the levels which point to tightening in the US labor market, as the number of claims continues to decrease from early April 2020 record high of 6.1 million.

Economists expect jobless claims to fall further below pre-pandemic levels due to acute shortage of workers and businesses struggling to reach desired levels of employment, as the number of claims remains below its peak in mid-January, after the latest wave of coronavirus Omicron variant raged across the country.