Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose a bit more than expected as the omicron variant spread rapidly through the U.S., the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Jobless claims totaled 207,000 for the week ended Jan. 1, higher than the 195,000 forecast and up 7,000 from the previous period.
Still, the latest data shows claims are well anchored around a level that is even lower than before the Covid-19 pandemic, when claims were averaging around 215,000. The four-week moving average, which accounts for weekly volatility in the numbers, nudged higher to 204,500 for the current period.
“Weekly unemployment claims only ticked up for the latest week, showing the surge in Omicron cases…