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The four-week average

The four-week average claim, which offset some weekly fluctuations, fell 500 from the previous week to 206,500.

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The total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits for the week ending May 21 fell from the previous week to 1,309,000, the lowest number since December 27, 1969. U.S. workers have historically high job security two years after the coronavirus pandemic pushed the economy into a brief but devastating recession. The weekly unemployment number has remained consistently below pre-pandemic levels of 225,000 for most of 2022, even as the overall economy contracted in the first quarter and inflation fears persisted. Last month, the government announced that U.S. employers created 428,000 jobs in April, bringing the unemployment rate to 3.6%, higher than its lowest level in half a century. Job gains have been surprisingly steady in the face of the worst inflation in four decades, as employers added at least 400,000 jobs for 12 consecutive months. The government’s jobs report for May is due Friday, and many expect a correction to the 400,000-plus jobs streak. Economists surveyed by FactSet expect the U.S. The U.S. added 323,000 jobs in May, the lowest figure in nearly a year and a half. A separate government employment report Wednesday said the number of jobs created in the economy fell slightly in April, but was still much higher, at 11.4 million, than the number unemployed.

The healthy level of job openings shows that businesses are still trying to hire and grow, even as inflation hovered near a 40-year high and the Federal Reserve intervened. This may be the fastest rise in prices since the 1980s. Last month, the government announced producer prices in the United States. It was 11% higher in April than a year earlier, a solid increase that indicates high inflation will continue to weigh on consumers and businesses in the months ahead.