Initial jobless claims surge just as midterm elections are on horizon

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By John Hugh DeMastri
Daily Caller News Foundation

Initial jobless claims hit their highest level since August, the Department of Labor reported Thursday, another sign that the historically strong labor market is beginning to cool.

Claims rose to 228,000 in the week ending Oct. 8, up 9,000 from the week before and pushing the four-week moving average up to 211,500, the Department of Labor reported. The U.S. added 263,000 jobs in September, its weakest showing since April 2021 and just half of the additions seen in June, all but guaranteeing that the Federal Reserve will continue to raise interest rates at its aggressive pace of 0.75% up to 4% in November, according to CNBC.

Unemployment dipped to 3.5% in September, a 50-year low, but a declining labor force has helped push unemployment numbers down. The Federal Reserve expects that its aggressive campaign of interest rate hikes will likely continue through the new year, putting further pressure on the labor market and contributing to a projected median unemployment rate of 4.4% in 2023.

While initial claims are climbing, the Oct. 8 initial claims are down approximately 90,000 from the same time last year, while the four-week moving average is down by around 140,000 claims from the same time, the Department of Labor reported.

Michael Gapen, Bank of America’s Chief U.S. Economist, said in a CNN appearance Monday that unemployment might jump as high as 5.5%.

“We could see six months of weakness in the labor market,” said Gapen.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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