In a positive sign for the job market across the U.S., new claims for unemployment assistance remain stable and generally low, having slightly fallen in the week ending February 18 from the prior week.
The seasonally adjusted number of new claims was 192,000, while the most recently reported figure for the week ending February 11 was 195,000. Both of these numbers are also slightly below the seasonally adjusted total of new claims for unemployment apparently seen in the third week in February last year, when the total reached 198,000. Totals without seasonal adjustments made also showed declines, dropping by a rate it seems was just over one percentage point more than expected.
Throughout the recently low totals in unemployment claims, these are some of the lowest numbers seen since, well, around a year ago, although the totals throughout last year never got as out of control as the numbers the country saw much earlier after the emergence of COVID-19. Around the middle of the summer, which was the same period in which gas prices hit record highs, new claims for unemployment also briefly passed 250,000 in a week. Now, though, much of that is in the past. According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular gas was lower on Sunday than it was a day, week, month, and year ago, and although inflation metrics showed middling results in January, data from the Commerce Department appeared to indicate disposable personal incomes among Americans rose much faster than prices did.
In current dollars, there was a two percent increase in that category from the previous month, while a 0.6 percent jump in prices from the prior month was recorded. Some of the Democratic initiatives about which Republicans have proven so furious were specifically designed to target inflation, whether through boosting the creation of renewable energy equipment in the United States or expanding available energy supplies. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) failed in her attempt to get the House to pass a measure to block Biden from evidently making any similar sales from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the future. Her odd idea was that he engaged in some kind of trickery, although it’s not entirely clear the stage at which she imagined such took place.
Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons