Jobless Claims Fall to Lowest Level in Nearly 5½ Years

weekly jobless claims unemployment benefits job fairWASHINGTON -- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to its lowest level in nearly 5½ years last week, signaling labor market resilience in the face of fiscal austerity.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, the lowest level since January 2008, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Claims for the prior week were revised to show 3,000 more applications received than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to rise to 335,000 last week. The third straight weekly decline in claims pushed them further below the 350,000 mark, which economists normally associate with a firming labor market.

Claims are showing no sign of a pickup in layoffs even as other parts of the economy such as manufacturing start to show strain from tighter fiscal policy. A Labor Department analyst said no states had been estimated and there was nothing unusual in the state-level data.

More: The Real Unemployment Rate Is Worse Than You Think

The four-week moving average for new claims, a better gauge of job market trends, dropped 6,250 to 336,750 -- the lowest level since November 2007. Coming on the heels of data last week showing surprising strength in the labor market, the claims report could further assuage fears of an abrupt slowdown in the economy.

Employers added 165,000 new jobs to their payrolls in April and hiring in the previous two months was stronger than initially reported. The unemployment rate dropped to a four-year low of 7.5 percent. The improvement in employment contrasts sharply with other data, including retail sales and manufacturing, that have suggested a cooling in the economy at the end of the first quarter, which persisted early in the April-June period.

The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid dropped 27,000 to 3.0 million in the week ended April 27. That was the lowest level in so-called continuing claims since May 2008.

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And where are the millions that have fallen of the grid?? We all keep hearing this crap about the jobles numbers. zTHIS IS THE BS AGAIN AND AGAIN

May 13 2013 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes, many people have given up.

May 10 2013 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Numbers are like POWs, beat them long enough and they will tell you anything you want to hear.

May 10 2013 at 3:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Doesn't anyone with any amount of brains realize that unemployment is so low because most of the unemployed have been without jobs for so long they no longer qualify for unemployment compensation and still cannot find jobs!!!!

May 10 2013 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That number means nothing. It does not include all the millions that have given up looking for work. Figures don't lie, but the liars sure can figure.

May 10 2013 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There are still over 9 million American workers that are without jobs since Obama took over in 2008.
These reports suggesting the work force is picking up speed are sugar coating on a very grave problem.
A lot of these people that this report considers "new hires" are just people that have had their fuill time jobs reduced to part time.
This regime still really sucks.

May 10 2013 at 2:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

OMG, what kind of idiots do you take us for??? Unemployment is still very high, people have been reduced to taking part time work, while others have simply given up. It should be a crime to report falsehoods!

May 10 2013 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

its anotther ploy to make obama look like hes doing a good job its all a lie cant wait till he fired

May 10 2013 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hiring numbers are up because employers are replacing full time workers with part time. Allowing them to avoid the cost of mandated health care. Instead of one employee working a 40 to 60 hour work week, they will hire two 30 hour employees and avoid the cost. Most are unfamiliar with the actual cost of medical coverage. I wasn't aware until forced into the COBRA program when I lost my healthcare coverage due to being out of work because of a heart attack. My weekly deduction at my employer was $46 for minimum coverage. Because I lost my income I could no longer afford the weekly payments. In order to maintain coverage I would have to pay $800 per month for the same insurance because my employer contribution was removed. A significant expense for the employer each month, and without any income, impossible for me to pay. With 100 employees, switching over to part time workers is a significant savings. Of course none of this is mentioned in this "times are getting better" article. Every time the government gets involved, someone must pay the freight.

May 10 2013 at 9:25 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to tcdesalvo's comment

4.2 million jobs have gone from full-time to part-time from July 2012 through January 2013. February saw 276K jobs go to part-time and April tallied 278K from full-time to part-time, not sure about March.

May 10 2013 at 10:44 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
J Grace

Unfortunately, you are right on tc. It's regretable that the mainstream media doesn't delve into the numbers a lot better. The real question should be why are part time hires even included in the new employee numbers. People had better wake up. This is only the tip of the iceberg though. When the dollar is replaced as the world interchange currency, we will see a dramatic impact across the whole country as prices will soar with the devaluation of the dollar. And it will happen extremely quickly. One day it will be announced and within only days the effects will be felt on groceries, energy and clothing we purchase from foreign countries manufacturers and farmers. It may not happen this year, but at some point in the fairly near future it will happen. Other countries are already agreeing to use country to country interchangeable currencies now. And it will increase progressively. The picture will not be a pretty one. I understand the heart and insurance problem, if you get what I mean. Good luck.

May 10 2013 at 10:48 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Slowly the destruction caused by Bush is being repaired. It'll take decades before things will be the way they were during the pre-Bush era. May Bush burn for eternity for what it did to this great nation and it's citizens.

May 10 2013 at 9:02 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to drakkusshadows's comment

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