Jobless Claims Fall Unexpectedly, As Labor Market Improves

weekly unemployment claims

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting a pickup in the labor market recovery. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 340,000, declining for a second straight week, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

The prior week's claims figure was revised to show 3,000 more applications received than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to rise to 355,000. The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, also fell 7,000 to 348,750 -- the lowest level since March 2008 -- pointing to some firming in underlying labor market conditions.

A Labor Department analyst said no states had been estimated and there were no special factors influencing the report. The data has no bearing on February's employment report, due on Friday, as it falls outside the survey period. According to a Reuters survey of economists, employers probably added 160,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, a small pickup from January's 157,000 count. That would just be enough to hold the jobless rate steady at 7.9 percent.

More: The Real Reason There Are So Many Long-Term Unemployed?

Economists say job gains of at least 250,000 a month during a sustained period are needed to significantly dent the ranks of the unemployed. Job growth averaged 200,000 in the last three months. While layoffs have subsided, companies aren't in a hurry to step up hiring as domestic demand remains lackluster. Claims remain tucked in the low end of a 330,000 to 375,000 range for this year.

High unemployment prompted the Federal Reserve last year to launch an open-ended bond buying program. The U.S. central bank said it would keep up the program until there was a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market.

In testimony to Congress last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke signaled the central bank would press forward with plans to buy $85 billion in bonds per month. The number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid rose 3,000 to 3.1 million in the week ended Feb. 23. The four-week moving average of so-called continuing claims was the lowest since July 2008.





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28 Comments

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susan.adeeb

my unemployment exhausted last week. I cannot file as unemployed, so I am not counted with the unemployed people. of course the unemployment rate is down.
we are now maybe 50 Millions without jobs

April 10 2013 at 8:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ralphhale3

Jobless CLAIMS are down. I'm not surprised. To be counted as a claim, one must submit a claim for financial benefits in one's State of residence. The benefits have run out, been cut, and are still being cut. Therefore less claims, and 'positve' numbers.

It is not as if large amounts of jobs are appearing - unless you are into web architecture or network management, or software development, or IT project management, or database admin. or management. or...or... or... See a trend? Technology, while a great and awsome thing, has not created and will not create more jobs over time. That is one promise that business KNEW was not going to happen. Job displacement is the rule now. Drive down wages over the long term. Increase profitability to recored heights. If we all found it satisfying, and worked in IT, who would serve us our burgers and lattes or provide the services we enjoy as a society? Oh right. The Ph.d in biology or history. The MS in policy, MA in literature. The B.A.'s and B.S.'s of the world. A country of 'values'. Yeah, right. Whose values? In which corner office do they sit?

March 08 2013 at 11:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Lewis

Check out these stories listed on this same page under 'Related Stories':

Feb. 28: Weekly Jobless Claims Drop, Suggesting Improved Labor Market
Feb. 21: Weekly Jobless Claims Rise More Than Expected, Blizzard Cited
Feb. 14: Weekly Unemployment Claims Drop More Than Expected

So which is it, really? Are we to believe that there's a significant rise and fall of jobs on a week-to-week basis, or are the numbers just pie in the sky in either direction?

March 08 2013 at 10:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hoofy53

Anybody see these magically appearing jobs in their area of the country ,I don't !!!! They say numbers don't lie but its more truthful to say liars lie using numbers !!

March 08 2013 at 7:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hoofy53's comment
Terrell Simien

Amen, hoofy. So true, you hit it on the head of the nail. I still don't see these magical jobs appearing. I have been blessed to land a job that I am scheduled to start next week, but we will see as the start date keeps changing. In the meantime, I am putting a huge dent in my unemployment benefits and the bills are still coming.

March 08 2013 at 8:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Fesore

....and GDP grew at .1 % last quarter. WOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO ! LOL

The Obama propaganda machine is working overtime. Can he get Carter to help him ?

March 08 2013 at 7:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Big Rico

No one falls for his BS propaganda anymore, why do you keep trying?

March 08 2013 at 1:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Big Rico

Yeah right!

March 08 2013 at 1:42 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Sped Man

One more thing, real unemployment is over 25%. The US doesn't have the balls to post the truth.

March 08 2013 at 1:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Sped Man

This is BS. What is happening is simple. Their unemployment ran out. Every quarter thousands of individuals run out of unemployement. Now they have to either move in with friends, relatives or become homeless. The lucky ones with kids can get Welfare, section 8, food stamps and mediaide. Those without kids are screwed!

March 08 2013 at 1:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Glyn

This is misleading at best and a down right lie at worst. Don't trust the governments numbers it's really over 20% and higher than the national average in California.

March 07 2013 at 10:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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