By Scott Kanowsky
Investing.com — The number of Americans putting in new claims for unemployment benefits fell by less than estimated last week, potentially signaling that the jobs market in the world’s biggest economy may be showing some signs of cooling.
Weekly seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits declined to 229,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to data from the U.S. Labor Department. Analysts had expected the figure to fall to 227,000.
California, Pennsylvania and Illinois saw the largest increases in jobless claims.
However, the labor market remains tight. At the end of April, there were 11.4 million job openings – or about one for every two unemployed Americans. Labor Department data also showed the 4-week moving average for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment is at its lowest level since 1970.
Thursday’s data comes as Federal Reserve Jerome Powell said this week that recent global events have made it “more difficult” to use its monetary policy tools to wrangle in soaring inflation and dampen the robust labor market.
In a testimony on Capitol Hill, Powell warned that while the Fed does not want to cause a recession, it remains a “possibility.” The Fed hiked interest rates by 75 basis points last week in a bid to quell price rises, but sparked fears that this sort of aggressive action could lead to a broader economic downturn – a so-called “hard landing.”