The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell slightly last week to 229,000, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.
This reading is in line with the estimate of 225,000 and down 2,000 from last week’s revision of 231,000.
The four-week moving average is 223,500, up 4,500 from the previous level.
The labor market remains strong, with demand for workers outstripping supply. But there are some signs that it is cooling, which Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said is necessary to control inflation in testimony Wednesday before the Senate Banking Committee.
Political cartoons about the economy
Small businesses in particular seem to be struggling find workers as they resisted increases in wages and supplier prices.
Much depends on consumers’ willingness to continue spending, as they contribute nearly 70% of the economy. But reading the mood of consumers shows they are increasingly less confident about the future. The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index Tuesday’s announcement showed that economic sentiment has plummeted over the past two weeks, falling 4.6 points to 29.6. It was the biggest two-week drop in the past year and the lowest since the index began measuring economic sentiment in 2013.
The Fed raised interest rates in May and then again in June, by 75 basis points in a move not seen since 1994. Mortgages and other borrowing costs have skyrocketed. are also following. Economists continue to debate whether the economy will enter a soft landing or something worse like a recession.
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