WASHINGTON – The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level since mid-November, but still low by historic standards.
U.S. jobless claims climbed by 23,000 last week, to 230,000, the Department of Labor said Thursday. The four-week moving average, which smooths out week-to-week blips, rose nearly 6,300, to almost 211,000.
The weekly applications, a proxy for layoffs, have risen in four of the last five weeks, a period that runs in tandem with the spread of the omicron variant. Yet the jobs market has bounced back strongly from last year's coronavirus recession. Jobless claims had fallen mostly steadily for about a year and they dipped below the pre-pandemic average of around 220,000 a week.
Nominee talks inflation
Lael Brainard, President Joe Biden's nominee for vice chair of the Federal Reserve, said Thursday that combating high inflation is the central bank's top priority and said she believed the Fed could reduce it without sacrificing economic growth.
Testifying at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, Brainard said inflation is “too high, and working people around the country are concerned about how far their paychecks will go.”
Brainard's elevation of inflation-fighting as the Fed's top goal is notable because she is, for now, the lone Democrat on the Fed's board, and has long been seen as inclined to keep interest rates low to boost employment, rather than to back higher rates to curb inflation pressures. Her stance reflects the abrupt pivot the Fed has recently made under Chair Jerome Powell toward making inflation-fighting its top priority.
City firm wins praise
Prevention Magazine has named Dentisse Natural Reflection Toothpaste as the sixth-best whitening toothpaste on the market.
The Fort Wayne business said in a news release that its product ranked well because it's an organic paste with kaolin and bentonite clay that cleans and removes stains on teeth without abrasive ingredients.
Dentisse sells the toothpaste through its own website and on Amazon.com. Prevention Magazine had dental experts compare leading tooth whitening products.