The Balance Today: News You Need To Know on Dec. 8, 2022

First-time unemployment claims rise to highest level in 10 months

A woman behind a laptop screen rests her eyes with a worried expression.

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Investors remain concerned about the Federal Reserve this week as they look to data about the U.S. economy for clues on the future path of rate hikes from the central bank. Today the Labor Department released the latest jobless claims figures, and the number of people filing for unemployment for the first time rose by 4,000 to 230,000 last week. And while that figure remains in line with pre-pandemic levels, the rise could be a concerning sign for the labor market. 

The jobs market has been notoriously strong even as the Fed has hiked rates to slow down the economy. Last week, we learned from the November jobs report that the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%, showing that the central bank’s efforts haven’t made much of an impact.

But cracks in the labor market may be starting to appear. The number of people on unemployment rolls (known as continuing claims) rose to its highest level since February, indicating that the labor market’s strength is starting to wane. But it still remains to be seen when or if these weaknesses will appear in the monthly jobs report

Stocks are on the rise today after several days in the red amid worries about the possibility of a recession. While markets had previously been optimistic that the Fed would moderate the pace and aggression of its rate hikes, investors have started getting nervous again about how aggressive the bank will be next year, raising the likelihood of recession. 

In good news for drivers, the cost of gas has been steadily declining, and now sits lower than it was a year ago, according to AAA. On average, gas costs about $3.33 a gallon nationally—this time last year, it cost $3.34.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Department of Labor. “Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims.”

  2. U.S. Employment and Training Administration via FRED. “Initial Claims, 2014-2022.”

  3. AAA. “Gas Prices.”

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