US Department of Labor building exterior

New unemployment claims decreased by 5,000 to 256,000 for the week ending July 23. According to the Department of Labor, this was the first week-to-week decrease in four weeks. The number of claims for the week of July 16 was revised upward by 10,000 from the previous estimate of 251,000.

Despite the modest dip, the number of new applicants still is at its highest level since November, “indicating continued moderation in the labor market,” Bloomberg reported.

 According to Bloomberg economist Eliza Winger: “If the gradual increase in layoffs persists — they’re up 90,000 from mid-March — initial claims would reach typically recessionary levels by the end of next January. However, continuing claims also should trend higher in a recession, but the labor market remains tight and is able to absorb laid-off workers.”

The Federal Reserve Bank raised its baseline interest rate by 75 basis points Wednesday, for the second time in two months. Higher interest rates could lead to increased unemployment claims, “underlining one of the most difficult challenges the Fed faces in its effort to tackle climbing inflation,” the Hill reported

The good news for nursing and residential care is that employment has gained ground this year. Employment in nursing and residential care facilities increased by 8,000 jobs in June, according to information released earlier this month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“This was the fifth consecutive monthly gain, a positive sign for the industry. However, jobs remain 11.3% below their high point seen in July 2019,” National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care Chief Economist Beth Burnham Mace told the McKnight’s Business Daily at that time.