Layoffs in the construction industry in Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania and New York were noted contributors to jobs lost for the week that ended on Monday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 1 (UPI) -- New unemployment claims dropped slightly but continued claims rose above 1.61 million last week, according to the latest Department of Labor report on unemployment benefits.
The 1.61 million continuing claims for the week is the highest one-week mark since February. That figure is up by 57,000 claims over the week prior. The four-week moving average increased by 30,000 to more than 1.53 million. The moving average is a technique used to forecast trends in data.
The increase in continuing claims suggests people who are out of work are having an increasingly difficult time finding new employment, according to Bloomberg. It was the biggest increase in continuing claims this year.
About 225,000 Americans filed for unemployment last week, which is a decrease of about 16,000 from the week prior after that week's data was adjusted up by 1,000 claims.
The decrease in new claims is not surprising, according to economist Eliza Winger.
"The drop in initial jobless claims for the week ended Nov. 26 is more a product of notoriously volatile data around holidays such as Thanksgiving than an indication of job-market vigor," she said.
Illinois experienced the biggest increase in unemployment claims, moving up by 6,586 over the week ending on Nov. 19. The state of Illinois submitted a note to say there were layoffs in construction and manufacturing that influenced the increase. California's claims increased by more than 4,000 but no such comment was submitted.
Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania and New York also noted layoffs in the field of construction.
Several large tech companies are contributing to a wave of new layoffs, according to Forbes. Meta dropped about 11,000 jobs while Twitter let go 3,700 and rideshare company Lyft is cutting 13% of its workforce.
"If the jobless claims continue to fall, there are concerns that interest rate hikes will continue," Forbes reported.