An increase in jobless benefits claims leads some experts to believe the U.S. labor market is finally beginning to slow. That could be good news for many employers, especially since companies who want to hire seasonal guest workers on H-2B visas will now have to go through multiple lotteries first. In other news, the EEOC plans to move all filings and charge-handling communications online. Get the scoop in our Weekend Roundup:
U.S. Jobless Claims Rise; Continuing Claims at 10-month High
The number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits increased more than expected last week and the number of people on unemployment rolls increased to a 10-month high, suggesting some slowing in the labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 225,000 for the week ended Feb. 23, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Data for the prior week was revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Department of Labor Announces Lottery for H-2B Processing
Employers that want to hire seasonal guest workers with H-2B visas will now have to go through at least two separate lotteries to employ them.
Beginning July 3, the Department of Labor (DOL) will change its procedures for processing H-2B applications for labor certification. Visa applications will be randomly ordered for processing based on the date of filing and the start date of work requested. Employers with certified petitions will then likely enter another lottery held by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Labor certification ensures that employers are not displacing or negatively impacting the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers and must be obtained before employers can petition USCIS for visa approval.
EEOC Wants to Move Most Transactions Online
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) proposed a rule to increase online filings and digital communications between the agency and private-sector parties.
The proposed regulatory changes are largely a part of an ongoing effort to fully implement digital charge-handling and related communications, both with employers and the employees who file charges, said Randy Coffey, an attorney with Fisher Phillips in Kansas City, Mo.