U.S. Unemployment Claims Barely Budge, New Data Shows

New claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week, government data on Thursday showed, suggesting that the labor market continues to expand at a moderate pace.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 370,000, the Labor Department said. The prior week's figure was revised up to 372,000 from the previously reported 370,000.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims unchanged last week. The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, dropped 5,500 to 370,000.

Claims have barely budged in the past four weeks, indicating a marginal improvement in the pace of job creation after April's disappointing 115,000 gain in nonfarm payrolls.

A Labor Department official said there was nothing unusual in the state-level claims data and no states had been estimated.

The number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid fell 29,000 to 3.26 million in the week ended May 12.

The so-called continuing claims data covered the week for the household survey from which the unemployment rate is derived. The jobless rate dropped to 8.1 percent in April from 8.2 percent the prior month, but mostly as people gave up the hunt for work.

While more states are losing eligibility for extended benefits for the long-term unemployed, that is not yet being fully captured in the claims data, as the figures are reported with a time lag.

Economists expect that as more people fall off the unemployment benefit rolls, that will artificially push down the jobless rate. Out-of-work people not receiving benefits aren't obliged to be actively looking for work, a key criteria to be counted as unemployed.

The number of people on extended benefits dipped 4,800 to 299,955 in the week ended May 5, the latest week for which data is available. Only 15 states and the District of Columbia were offering extended benefits during that period.

There were 2.63 million Americans receiving emergency unemployment checks during that period, down 35,500 from the prior week.

A total of 6.17 million people were claiming unemployment benefits during the week ending May 5 under all programs, down 105,004 from the previous week.

(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; editing by Andrea Ricci.)

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I was laid off at Home Depot over a year ago. I was then told that I could be rehired part-time and reduced pay and that was after 13 yrs of dedicated service. I sometimes go into the stores and the guys tell me how much they are under staffed and over worked.

May 25 2012 at 6:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The reason hp is laying off so many is to maximise profits. Hp is late to the game ipods,ipads,smartphones. Laptops desktops are a thing of the past.

May 25 2012 at 6:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The headlines read:
"Puzzling News on Unemployment" followed by
"Tech Giant Cuts 27,000 Workers".

May 25 2012 at 5:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Of course the unemployment rate rose again, HP just laid off 27,000 employees! As businesses continue to get profit happy, the workers lose out because they've done such a good job making money for their employers. The CEO will get his multi-million dollar bonus. Then in six months, HP will start hiring again, but the starting pay will be much less than what the laid off workers were making per hour. Vicious cycle.

May 25 2012 at 5:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Do these people beleive their own lies?

May 25 2012 at 5:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Every Thursday the government reports the unemployment figures. Sometime late Fridays, the same government will issue corrections for the previous week. Every Thursday the numbers go down and every Friday the numbers go up. Late Fridays is a known time for our government to release bad news as most people are getting off work, and getting ready for the weekend. Now we learn that those people who have exhausted their unemplouyment benefits and are still unemployed are no longer counted as unemployed. What in the hell is that about. It's like the deficit was reported to be 1.5 trillion dollars but did not include 3.5 trillion dollars in other obligated debt which totals 5 TRILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT! How much longer can our government, both sides, keep lying to the people? We now have Taxation with Misrepresentation, That's criminal!

May 25 2012 at 5:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love all these adjustments they make to the real figures. There are millions not even on the roles anymore due to ineligibility. Then, "seasonal" adjustments to adjust it downwards? why not just put the facts out there? Half of America is not working. That includes everyone...men women and children. And, the numbers of jobs not taken by the unemployed is because most are too minimum wage to replace what they were making, and it is a better living on 2/3 of your former pay than taking an abusive minimum wage job, that won't pay your mortgage, or car payment. Political smoke and mirrors... Figures that lie outright.

May 25 2012 at 2:05 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

So according to Obama-economics,when everyone's unemployment runs out,unemployment will be zero!!

May 25 2012 at 1:45 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chamonix13's comment

From the man who borrowed $1t to get out of debt.

May 25 2012 at 5:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would have thought that as more people lose their benefits, they would be agressively pursuing employment, unlike what the experts seem to suggets. People have to pay bills.

May 25 2012 at 1:44 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I am one of many that have fallen off the claim list. It is starting to look as though this number would at least triple if they actually reported the true amount of unemployed. Feeding the public false numbers is wrong, but you only need to fool them until election day! We aren't a bunch of dead beats sitting around NOT wanting to work, I would love to be plying my trade. It is not a comfortable feeling to watch your dreams go down the drain. This country has seen way too many short term fixes. Political officials need to worry about what will be going on AFTER their office, not what it takes to get the seat. I know we don't have any easy answers, but reporting BS to the public is just sticking our heads in the sand. Are we so far gone that it has to completely fall apart to become what we once were? We don't need politics and world conflicts right now, we need to tend to our own home. Lead the world through example, not force. We were a nation that all others looked up to, or feared. I still believe in America. We are supposed to be the land of the free, home of the brave, not the land of the homeless and naive.

May 25 2012 at 1:23 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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