U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Higher Amid Omicron Concerns, Rising Inflation

The number of Americans filing initial unemployment claims jumps to its highest since November.

The weekly jobless claims climbed by 23,000 to reach a total of 230,000 for the week ending January 8th. Economic analysts like Bankrate's Mark Hamrick cite a rise in omicron cases that lead to a wave of flight cancellations and workers calling in sick. He says the recent rise in COVID cases is a temporary setback for the economy. Rising inflation, however, could be a bigger problem.

“This is why this is job number one now for the Federal Reserve, and it’s possible that we could see an interest rate increase as soon as March,” Hamrick said.

Economists had projected 200,000 initial jobless claims for the week.

“We’re seeing consumer prices rise on an annual basis the most in about 40 years,” He explained. “This is also going to be a political problem that will be in play right now for the president and potentially in the midterm elections.”

In Texas, jobless claims were also up compared to the week before. However, Hamrick is optimistic about the Lone Star State’s economy overall thanks to recovering oil prices.

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