Weekly jobless claims: Number of Americans filing for unemployment dropped last week

Despite Amazon, Disney and several other companies continuing to lay off thousands of workers, the number of Americans filing jobless claims last week declined, according to the Department of Labor.

A total of 230,000 Americans filed for unemployment insurance for the first time during the week ending April 22, down 16,000 from the previous week.

Unemployment insurance claims are seen as a barometer for layoffs, which ballooned during the pandemic as companies shuttered and supply chains snarled but have since slowed as the economy stabilized and many businesses struggled to find employees.

More Americans filed claims the previous week than was initially reported, with the number revised to 246,000 – an uptick of 1,000.

But the moving average of jobless claims over four weeks, which gives a broader, more accurate view of the unemployment picture, was 236,000, 4,000 fewer than the revised average from the previous week.

More tech layoffs:Facebook, Instagram parent company to cut another 10,000 workers.

Disney cuts:Disney layoffs enter second round as job cuts target ESPN, parks.

What are the latest jobless claims in the U.S.

In total, 1.86 million people were receiving unemployment insurance during the week ending April 15, down 3,000 from the previous week.

How many Americans filed for unemployment last week

During the week ending April 22, 230,000 Americans filed jobless claims for the first time, 16,000 fewer than the previous week.

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2023 Layoffs: Disney, Amazon

Despite the decline in claims, layoffs have been rattling industries from tech to media in recent months. This week the Walt Disney Co. Began its second round of job eliminations, cutting several thousand positions as part of a broader plan to cut 7,000 jobs that will affect various divisions including its TV networks and theme parks.

Amazon also initiated its latest round of cuts on Wednesday, according to a message to employees from Adam Selipsky, CEO of the company’s cloud computing division, AWS.

“As you know, we recently made the difficult decision to eliminate some roles across Amazon globally, including within AWS,” he wrote. “I wanted to let you know that conversations with impacted AWS employees started today, with notification messages sent to all impacted employees in the U.S., Canada, and Costa Rica.”.

Amazon said in March that it would be getting rid of 9,000 more jobs, cuts following the elimination of roughly 18,000 other positions in recent months.

Several other companies including McDonald’s, Lyft and Meta have announced they are slashing jobs, citing reasons ranging from declining ad revenue to a need to streamline.

Why are so many layoffs happening?

Much attention has been paid to the waves of job cuts in the tech industry where tens of thousands of jobs have been shed. But a key reason that sector appears so hard hit is that it was so aggressive in hiring workers before the pandemic.

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In the five years preceding the global health crisis, tech companies added 1.3 million workers, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by CompTIA, an information-technology trade group.

The pandemic accelerated the need for more tech workers in order to get products to consumers who were increasingly shopping online and who also had additional cash to buy gaming systems, computers and other electronics thanks to stimulus checks from the government and enhanced unemployment insurance.

But that extra money has begun to dry up and consumers are pulling back on spending. The Federal Reserve also began raising interest rates to tame rising inflation, sending tech stocks plunging and companies began to lay off workers they no longer needed or said they could no longer afford to keep on the payroll.

Tech layoffs:Massive tech company layoffs look ugly. But it may not be as bad as you think.

Is a recession coming:Most corporate economists don’t see a slump happening within a year.

March jobs report; what is the unemployment rate?

The economy added 236,000 jobs in March, and the jobless rate hovered at 3.5%, with 5.8 million Americans out of work.

GDP report today

The economy is continuing to grow but at a weaker pace, and many experts predict the U.S. Will experience a mild recession before the end of the year.

The nation’s gross domestic product, which represents the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S., Expanded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.1% during the first three months of the year, according to the Commerce Department.

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However, economists polled by Bloomberg had predicted a 2% increase, and the small uptick was far less than the 3.2% GDP growth experienced in the third quarter, and 2.6% increase seen in the last quarter of the year.

Next Fed Interest Rate Hike Meeting.

The latest jobless claims report comes on the eve of another key announcement that can signal or impact the health of the economy.

The Fed is scheduled to meet on May 2 and 3, revealing whether it will continue the stream of interest rate hikes it’s implemented to dampen inflation.

Amid the financial chaos that ensued after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March, Fed officials raised a key short-term interest rate by a quarter percentage point last month. But Fed Chair Jerome Powell noted that if financial institutions made it harder to borrow in the wake of SVB’s failure, the Fed “may have less work to do” going forward.

If there is another rate increase, Fed officials have forecasted another quarter-point hike to a peak range of 5% to 5.25%, which is consistent with an estimate it made in December and lower than what many economy watchers anticipated before SVB’s demise.

Jobless claims report schedule

The initial jobless claims report is released every Thursday.

Contributing: The Associated Press, Paul Davidson, Elisabeth Buchwald.

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