unemployment benefits

Jobless Claims Drop Again, GDP Revised Lower

New claims for unemployment hit a 3 year low last week, suggesting that the economy is beginning to gain momentum despite third quarter growth being revised down. Initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 364,000 last week. Last week’s drop in unemployment benefits claims is the third straight weekly drop and is the lowest since April 2008.

“The employment situation continues to show strong signs of a recovery and goes against the grain of what people felt four months ago,” said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. in New York.

The jobs data helped shift the focus away from a separate report from the Commerce Department showing GDP grew by 1.8% in the third quarter. GDP was previously reported to have grown by 2%, but saw healthcare spending drop sharply in the third quarter.

Despite being revised lower, the GDP for the third quarter was up from the 1.3% growth seen in the second quarter.

Consumer spending was revised to 1.7% from 2.3% because of adjustments to healthcare services, especially those in nonprofit hospitals. Durable goods saw an upward revision to 5.7% from 5.5%. Business inventories dropped less than expected with a $2 billion drop versus an estimated $8.5 billion. If you take out inventories, the economy grew by an adjusted 3.2%, down from 3.6%.

Overall the market is reacting positively to the jobs data and opened up slightly higher this morning. As of 9:50 am EST, the Dow is up 40 points, the Nasdaq is up 17 points and the S&P is up 6 points. Expect volume to be light today as the holiday weekend approaches.

Weekly Jobless Claims Drop to 3 Year Low

New claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a 3 year low last week according to a government report today. This could mean the jobs market is recovering faster than expected. The Labor Department said claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 19,000 to 366,000.

The prior week’s claims data was revised up to 385,000 from the initially reported 381,000. It will be interesting to see if this fresh data will also be revised up and if so, how much. Most economists had expected a forecast of 390,000 new jobless claims. This drop pushes jobless claims closer to 350,000, which many believe is a sign of labor market strength.

The positive news from the jobs market shows that the U.S. economy is beginning to turn around. Earlier this week, The Federal Reserve acknowledged the improving jobs market but said unemployment remains high.

Economists are keeping a very close eye on the debt crisis in Europe as any further problems could affect the U.S. economy.

The four-week moving average of claims, a more accurate measure of labor market trends, fell to a three year low of 387,750. 3.6 million people are receiving benefits under state programs after one week of aid.

Overall, the jobs market is beginning to look better. There are still millions of people unemployed, but any drop in jobless claims is good news for them.

Weekly Jobless Claims Hold Below 400,000

New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week but held below 400,000 for the third straight week, suggesting the labor market was gaining some traction. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits climbed to a seasonally adjusted 393,000 from an upwardly revised 391,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 390,000 from the previously reported 388,000.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending November 5 was 6,728,652, a decrease of 44,608 from the previous week.

States reported 2,896,629 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending November 5, a decrease of 38,837 from the prior week. There were 3,801,294 claimants in the comparable week in 2010.

Sates with the largest increases in new jobless claims include Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, and Connecticut.

Sates with the highest overall unemployment rates include Alaska, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.

These figures indicate that while the employment picture in the United States is showing a glimmer of hope, there is still a long way to go in getting people back to work. “The job market is slowly improving, but I think that the pace of economic expansion is still remaining subdued,” Russell Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit, said before the report. “I’m not really looking for a big improvement in the trend in claims anytime soon.”

The pace of temporary jobs for the holiday season has increased as retailers bring in as much as 50% of their revenue during this period. Some retailers are hoping some of those temporary jobs could translate into more permanent positions.

Jobless Claims Fall To Lowest Level Since April

New claims for unemployment benefits in the United States declined for the second straight week to the lowest level seen since April.

The Labor Department is reporting initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 390,000 in the week ended November 5, slightly below the 400,000 that analysts polled by Reuters had expected. The government revised its estimate for claims during the prior week to 400,000 from 397,000.

The Labor Department reported the number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid fell 92,000 in the week ended October 29 to 3.615 million. That was the steepest drop since February, and the lowest level since the week ended September 20, 2008. The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, fell to 400,000 from 405,250 the prior week, which was revised up from the previously reported 404,500.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending October 22 was 6,835,604, an increase of 51,990 from the previous week.

The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week included Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon, Minnesota, and Florida.

A Labor Department official said a freak fall snowstorm that hammered the Northeast U.S. and kept many people housebound, did not affect initial jobless claims.

The downward trend in applications suggests businesses are laying off fewer workers. Still, applications need to drop dramatically to signal sustained job gains. The unemployment rate has been stuck above 9% for more than two years. The Federal Reserve said last week that it is not expected to fall significantly through the end of next year.

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