Applications For Unemployment Benefits Drop To 4-Year Low

unemployment applications jobless claimsBy Christopher S. Rugaber

WASHINGTON -- The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell to the lowest point in almost four years last week, the latest signal that the job market is steadily improving.

The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment benefits dropped 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000. It was the fourth drop in five weeks and the fewest number of claims since March 2008.

The four-week average, which smooths out fluctuations in the weekly data, fell for the fifth straight week to 365,250. The average has fallen nearly 13 percent in the past year.

The consistent decline indicates that companies are laying off fewer workers, and hiring is likely picking up further. When applications drop consistently below 375,000, it usually signals that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.

In January, the economy added a net 243,000 jobs, the most in nine months. And the unemployment rate dropped for the fifth straight month, to 8.3 percent. The economy has added an average of 201,000 jobs per month for the past three months.

Faster economic growth is spurring the additional hiring. The economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the final three months of last year -- a full percentage point higher than in the previous quarter.

Most economists expect growth to slow in the current quarter, because companies won't need to rebuild their stockpiles of goods as much as they did last winter.

But there are signs that the economy is still expanding at a healthy rate. Factory output got off to a robust start this year, and it ended 2011 with the fastest growth in five years, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.

Factories are adding jobs to keep up with higher demand. Manufacturers added 50,000 jobs last month, the most in a year.

In addition, retail sales rebounded last month after a sluggish holiday season. The gain suggests that the recent job growth is supporting more consumer spending.

Still, the job market has a long way to go before it fully recovers from the damage of the Great Recession. Nearly 13 million people remain unemployed. And 8.3 percent unemployment is still painfully high.

One reason the unemployment rate has fallen for five straight months is that many people have stopped looking for work. The government counts people as unemployed only if they are actively looking for a job.


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buzzyseed

Unions are in bed with Democrats. They have loophole that retirees with buyouts can collect unemployment also? What is up with that?

February 20 2012 at 10:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
buzzyseed

When gas hits $5 just check your unemployment then!

February 20 2012 at 10:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
danaviper

Its all a big joke,one man didint cause the reccession neither bush or obama,it was caused by the housing bubble and banks playing the mortgage game.If the right regulations had been in place it never would have happened.Obama is doing the same thing a GOP prez would do the only thing different is the Dems would be complaining about what he is doing

February 17 2012 at 5:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rebecca jean

i have a cat named bruce and even he knows this number game is a fraud.....................

February 17 2012 at 5:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rebecca jean

we now live in a country with a press that lies to get the worst president Ever....YES WORSE THAN CARTER.....reelected

February 17 2012 at 5:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rebecca jean

no it doesnt...more lies from the obama team and the slimy press.....

February 17 2012 at 5:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
franksnmail

So - people quit looking for work and the Obama gang love it.
Somehow I don't think this story tells us everything. As usual..

February 17 2012 at 3:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert Simpson

The ridiculously high rate of people filing for unemployment has dipped slightly to a still ridiculously high rate. Gasoline prices will soon be $4 a gallon. Obama is doing NOTHING about the deficit and crisis that looms ahead with medicare and social security......NOTHING.

How stupid are people?

February 17 2012 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bcrnbs2

a 4 year low... its just starting under the mights one obama the muslim

american airlines is in the process of laying off thousands here, and
reducing benefits and salerys to the rest...

wonder bread, just reduced their emploees, stop paying insurance
and no raises for the next four years.

yea. ALL YOU OBAMA LOVERS, HOPE YOU JOBS HOLDS OUT
BEST BE LOOKING AT THIS... OBAMA HAS CHIT FOR BRAINS.

P/S HOWS THAT 4 MILL VACATION OF MOOCHELL GOING FOR YOU
AND DID YOU KNOW OBAMA IS SPENDING MILLIONS UP ON MILIONS
BUILDING AND REPAING MUSLIM MOSQUE IN THE USA AND AROUDN THE WORLD

HELL OF A GUY THAT OBAMA..
FOR THE OTHER COUNTRYS AND HIS MUSLIM BUDDIES

February 17 2012 at 1:14 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Badsnake98

Your not counted as unemployed once you complete your first round of benefits period!!!! Funny how the Obummer hasn't cutt his pay along witht the rest of the rats, running the poor into the ground.

February 17 2012 at 12:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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