Weekly Jobless Claims Fall Less Than Expected

Unemployment Benefits (In this Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 photo, a
Mark Lennihan/AP
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week, but a lingering backlog of applications in California makes it difficult to get a good read of labor market conditions.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 4,000 more applications filed than previously reported.

Technical problems as California converted to a new computer system have distorted the claims data since September and a Labor Department analyst said claims from the backlog in California were still working their way through the system.

Economists, who had expected first-time applications to fall to 340,000 in the weak ending Oct. 19, say claims should drop back to levels consistent with a gradual labor market recovery once the backlog in California is cleared.

The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, rose 10,750 to 348,250.

Claims have generally been trending lower, suggesting employers are no longer laying off workers at an aggressive pace. However, hiring is being constrained by anemic domestic demand and uncertainty over fiscal policy. Employers added 148,000 new jobs in September.

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"The lack of ... progress on the jobs front is that we are not seeing dynamic hiring," said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities in Stamford, Conn. "The pace of layoffs is pretty restrained and consistent with lower unemployment. There are just not enough net jobs being added."

The shutdown pushed up claims in recent weeks as furloughed nonfederal workers applied for benefits. Claims filed by federal employees fell 25,939 in the week ended Oct. 12, the latest week for which more detailed data is available.

The number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid fell 8,000 to 2.87 million in the week ended Oct. 12.

The so-called continuing claims data covered the October household survey week from which the unemployment rate is derived. Continuing claims increased between the September and October household surveys, suggesting a rise in the unemployment rate.

But the government shutdown which lasted through the survey period could have affected the gathering of responses and resulted in a smaller sample from which to construct the jobless rate.

Separately, the Commerce Department said Thursday the trade gap nudged up 0.4 percent to $38.8 billion. July's shortfall on the trade balance was revised to $38.6 billion from the previously reported $39.15 billion.

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When adjusted for inflation, the trade gap was little changed at $47.3 billion from July. This measure goes into the calculation of GDP. Trade made no contribution to GDP growth in the second quarter and will likely offer only a modest lift to third-quarter output.

The economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, stepping up from the first-quarter's 1.1 percent pace. Third-quarter growth estimates are currently around 2 percent.

The three-month moving average of the trade deficit, which irons out month-to-to month volatility, fell to $37.3 billion in the three months to August from $39.0 billion in the prior period.

Exports of goods and services slipped 0.1 percent to $189.2 billion in August. However, exports of automobiles and parts hit a record high. While imports were flat overall, the amount of goods imported from China was the highest since November 2012.

The weak import growth is consistent with sluggish domestic demand.

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There are "help wanted" signs all over the place where I live. I'm sure they are temporary/seasonal, but if someone really wants to work, there are jobs out there. For too many, they prefer getting their paychecks in the mail with a nice government return address

October 25 2013 at 8:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Jobless Claims Fall Less Than Expected"

Imagine that. This is the same headline America has been seeing for five years running.

October 25 2013 at 1:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

more lies from the spite house.

October 25 2013 at 12:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The economy is not recovering by design. The more people who are dropped off into the black hole of "discouraged" the lower interest rates will be.

This is not by accident. This has to do with every FTA and other US JOB destroying Trade agreement that has been used to deleverage US business from the economy.

It needs to stop. We need to clawback every dime in corporate tax welfare and income tax loopholes and tell US business that if they don't start creating US jobs, the taxes will will increase until they do.

Lower corporate taxes do not generate business, they only serve to generate greater bonuses for those who have already betrayed this country and its people.

October 24 2013 at 9:27 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to llwlknsn's comment

Yet the US has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Not sure why you say lower tax rates will not help create jobs when we already punish our companies.

Your plan to punish companies and take the freedom away from them and attempting to force them to create jobs is not the American way and violates the principles of the Constitution. It also tries to force companies and hold companies responsible for jobs they may not need.

Guess you do not realize that the Congress passed NAFTA and both parties supported it and Clinton signed it, it was not the companies that did that.

The interest rates are about to start increasing and once they do, any claim of a recovery will cease as the economy will slow down even more, yet it will happen even knowing the catastrophic results because we have used the Zimbabwe option of massive currency printing and that can not continue without a dollar collapse and hyper inflation.

October 25 2013 at 8:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We need more of biden's three letter word: J O B S...hey joe....is this obama's fall of recovery?

October 24 2013 at 9:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

California also screwed up their reporting just before the presidential election last year, in order to keep the bad news out of the press for one more month.

They are guilty of always under reporting their new jobless claims number and are forced to revise the numbers, always upward, the following month. Just more the of the "progressive's" way of doing business. Hide the truth from the public because they only read the headlines!

October 24 2013 at 8:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When illegal immigrants are made legal the lazy Americans will never find work again. That means an unemployment rate of near 10% as soon as the new compassionate law is passed.

October 24 2013 at 8:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John's comment

What lazy Americans? The unemployment rate is already undercounted because the Civilian Labor force level is being suppressed. I hope you are being sarcastic. It is so hard to tell these days.

The CLF is no longer a relevant measure because it does not capture the true nature of our economy and masks the fact that we are currently 14 million jobs lighter than we should be for the population size of the country. The unemployment rate is currently between 11 and 14 % if everyone who wanted a job and did not have one were counted. The U6 number is the one to watch. The U3 measure is merely an optimism rate rather than an unemployment rate.

October 24 2013 at 9:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Earlier today I entered in information that FL had spent $63 million on new software for unemployed and it is not working and new benefits could not be filed, etc. Now I read that PA has spent $4o+ million and having same issues. There is no way this is an accurate account and adding in those that are no longer on unemployment but still unemployed, or those that are unemployed that did not qualify for unemployment - there is no way possible they are giving accuragte numbers.

October 24 2013 at 7:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

liberals get what they sow, you voted the dufess in now you blame the GOP. 63% job participation vs 67% during Bush admin. That's the problem. Phony numbers don't create real jobs. This ACA is driving down the job market. Driving down the hours people work. No GOP member of Congress voted for ACA.

Now the one is going to try and pass imigration reform. So someone who working under the radar, pays no taves, gets all the Gov. goodies is now going to start paying taxes. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. Stupid in is stupid out.

October 24 2013 at 5:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tgriffo418's comment

If you understood history you would recognize that the economy under Bush was different than then one under Obama. Bush set up destroying US jobs via NAFTA, Clinton signed off and Shrub put the nails in the coffin with the WTO and China.

Both parties have been busy betraying the country and its people while lining their own pockets.

Bush, Clinton and Bush II all deserve to be stripped of their citizenship because of economic terrorism.

October 24 2013 at 9:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to llwlknsn's comment

Perhaps they could hire one editor, or a proof reader. "The weak ending Oct. 19th"? Really?

October 24 2013 at 4:11 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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