Weekly jobless claims in America rose by 23,000 but experts say the economy is still improving.
Reuters reports the increase is the first in a month recorded by the Labor Department and experts cite the bad weather and week-to-week volatility in the data as a potential reason for the rise.
Employers are boosting wages and offering other incentives to retain their workforce and attract new staff, but there remains an acute shortage of workers across the country.
READ MORE: WHY AMERICA IS STILL TWO YEARS OFF MAXIMUM EMPLOYMENT
Daniel Silver, an economist at JP Morgan in New York, said: “Given the regular noise in the data and the range of factors that can impact filings we don’t think the recent jump in initial claims filings is particularly worrisome at this point.
“Overall, we think that the labor market remains tight.”
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased to a seasonally-adjusted 248,000 for the weekend ending Sunday, February 12.
This is higher than the 219,000 forecast by experts polled by Reuters.
Unadjusted claims increased from 7,742 to 238,482 last week.
There were big rises in states like Ohio, Kentucky and Missouri.
Other states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Wisconsin, saw a “notable declines.”
The omicron surge saw claim hit a three-month high in mid-January.
As the number of infections has fallen, so has the number of claims.
April 2020 – the height of the pandemic – saw claims hit a record high of 6.149 million.
A survey from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve on Thursday showed employment at factories in the mid-Atlantic region rose consderably in February.
Manufacturers were also able to increase hours for workers.
But factory activity in the region that covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware, didn’t grow as much due to persistent supply constraints.
Homebuilding was hit by freezing temperatures in January, with a report from the Commerce Department, showing housing starts dropping 4.1 percent.
The National Association of Homebuilders said building material production bottlenecks were delaying projects, noting that “many builders are waiting months to receive cabinets, garage doors, countertops and appliances.”
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