Weekly Jobless Claims Fall in Positive Sign for Labor Market

A Choice Career Fair As Jobless Claims Drop
Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Jason Lange

WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in nearly a month, a hopeful sign for the labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits decreased 42,000 to a seasonally adjusted 338,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

While recent data on claims have been clouded by seasonal volatility around the winter holiday period, Thursday's report showed claims in a range that supports expectations for faster economic growth next year.

"With labor markets on the mend and consumer confidence on the rise, we look for broader economic improvement to continue pushing claims [lower]," said Gennadiy Goldberg, an analyst at TD Securities in New York.

New jobless claims have trended higher since September and are now roughly where they were during the early days of the 2007-09 recession. Economists, however, say the level of claims is still consistent with job growth, and other labor market indicators have pointed to a strengthening labor market.

The four-week moving average for new claims, which irons out week-to-week volatility, increased 4,250 to 348,000.

"The underlying trend remains favorable," said Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester, Pa. "We will be able to muster stronger job growth in 2014."

The claims data appeared to have little impact on prices for U.S. stocks and bonds, which were little changed in thin holiday-season trading.

Citing an improving labor market, the Federal Reserve earlier this month announced it would reduce its monthly $85 billion bond buying program by $10 billion starting in January.

Payrolls increased solidly in October and November. The unemployment rate dropped to a five-year low of 7 percent in November.

A Labor Department analyst said no states had been estimated, but noted that claims were still in a period of volatility related to the holidays. The volatility is caused by the difficulty inherent in adjusting weekly data for seasonal factors like retailers and schools adjusting the sizes of their staff for the winter season.

Claims for the prior week were revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to fall to 345,000 last week.

The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid rose 46,000 to 2.923 million in the week ended Dec. 14.

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Come on AOL, this release is so obviously biased anyone should be able to add 2 and 2 and realized the reason for the drop in claims is that many have run out of their unemployment checks. This is just another ploy, by the Obama Administration, to try to put a smiley face on the fact that the REAL NUMBERS of unemployed are staggering...Wait until next month's numbers arer out, when the part time Christmas hires have been layed off, and if the truth is told by this corrupt Administration, there will be a huge uptick in the numbers of unemployed.

December 28 2013 at 3:26 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to vector26436's comment

"...the reason for the drop in claims is that many have run out of their unemployment checks." Really? If you are unemployed and looking for work you are included in the unemployment data whether you are drawing unemployment compensation or not. Those who are not sure how the data are tabulated can check the BLS website for the facts. You are correct, however, that the number of unemployed is very high.

January 02 2014 at 2:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's the norm for "new" UEI claims to drop during weeks that have a holiday, and next week will be likewise being it's the New Year holiday . However, watch how the number raises unexpectedly following these two holidays.

December 28 2013 at 11:05 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

So I guess the guys selling Christmas trees won't make claims next week

December 28 2013 at 10:52 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I don't know about the rest of the country, but in a small town called Odessa / Midland Tx we have nothing but a bunch of losers that don't want to work, we have a hard time finding people that want to work, newspaper is full of ads from companies trying to find employees, there's help wanted signs every where, and still we have people filing for un employment benefits, but I don't blame anybody but the government. Government makes it way to easy for these losers that don't want to work to receive unemployment benefits.

December 28 2013 at 10:05 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

unemployment rate is not true the people kick off unemployment are not added in that rate .sure it look better in the holiday season all the temp workers will once again be laid off .every city in the USA has run down houses ,hire the unemployed to redo these sell them to hard working people who can't afford to buy homes it's a win win people get to work and people get their dream to own a home. hire people in call centers 3 times this month I had to call soc. sec office each time it was over an hour wait seems to me they could use some help . people do not want to be unemployed most people like having a job . People are afraid of losing jobs so when a lay off happens people are so happy they still have a job they pick up the extra work that was done by the people that were left go most people live in fear of losing their jobs people live pay check to pay check who has enough at the end of the week to save any more prices have gone up not pay checks

December 28 2013 at 8:04 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Don't beleive it for one picosecond. One more time will the real unemployment rate please stand up.

December 28 2013 at 3:54 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

I fly planes, what do you worthless conservative voters do ?

December 26 2013 at 6:54 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jim.lapt's comment

If your'e unemployed. Then I suggest trying another line of work until you find something in your trained proffession.
We cant just keep extending unemployment benifits indefinately. Might as well just say you are on welfare.

You should not be allowed to collect unemployment for one dollar more then you and your former employer has put into it on your behalf

December 28 2013 at 11:10 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Steve Charcarski

Claims are down because everyone is being told your out off benefits, so you run out you can't make a claim, thus claims go down. This is like saying we are using less power on our houses, after we took out all the lights....

December 26 2013 at 3:51 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Steve Charcarski's comment

Really? You can't comprehend the difference between this weekly report on "NEW" unemployment claims and continuing claims or those that have expired? And instead you use an irrelevant analogy to "teach" others? Maybe some people are simply unemployable or should be.

December 27 2013 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Weekly Jobless Claims Fall in Positive Sign for Labor Market...

LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

December 26 2013 at 10:06 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

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