Weekly Jobless Claims Fall More Than Expected in Latest Week

Inside A Job Fair As Weekly Jobless Figures Are Released
Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week fell slightly more than expected, pointing to an economy that was continuing to gain steam.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 330,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to fall to 335,000 for the week ended Jan. 4. The four-week moving average for new claims fell 9,750 to 349,000.

U.S. stock index futures and Treasury prices held their gains after the data, while the dollar slightly extended gains versus the yen and pared losses against the euro.

A separate independent report showed planned layoffs at U.S. firms plunged by 32 percent in December to their lowest level in more than 13 years.

Employers announced 30,623 layoffs last month, down from 45,314 in November, according to the report from consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. December's reading was the lowest since June 2000.

From employment to consumer spending and industrial production, the economy appears poised for sustained strong growth through 2014 after false starts in the prior years.

That increasingly brightening outlook gave the Federal Reserve confidence in announcing last month that it would reduce its monthly $85 billion bond buying program by $10 billion starting in January.

With the run of fairly strong data continuing, economists believe the U.S. central bank could announce additional reductions in its bond purchases at the Jan. 28-29 meeting.

In an interview with Time magazine released Thursday, incoming Fed Chair Janet Yellen said she was "hopeful" that economic growth would accelerate in 2014 to reach 3 percent or more, with inflation moving up toward the central bank's target.

Claims Volatile

While jobless claims have been extremely volatile around the holiday season, they are still largely consistent with other labor market indicators that have painted an upbeat picture of the jobs market and the overall economy.

Last week's data has no bearing on the government's closely watched employment report for December.

The Labor Department is expected to report Friday that nonfarm payrolls increased by 196,000 last month after gaining 203,000 in November, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

The unemployment rate is forecast to be steady at a five-year low of 7 percent.

There is, however, a risk of a stronger number in the wake of reports Wednesday showing the fastest pace of private hiring in 13 months in December and small businesses creating the most jobs in nearly eight years.

The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid rose 50,000 to 2.87 million in the week ended Dec. 28.

A total of 4.19 million people were receiving benefits under all programs in the week ended Dec. 21. With benefits for more than a million long-term unemployed Americans having expired on Dec. 28, that figure should decline sharply in the weeks ahead.

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M

I have got to ask if this is the "new math" that was taught a decade or two ago.
If the number of new claims for for jobless reports was expected to be 330,000, but was actually 349,000, it seems to me that the number of jobless claims actually was 19,000 over the "expected" number. Seems to me that is 19,000 MORE unemployed people.
Just HOW is that good?

""Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to fall to 335,000 for the week ended Jan. 4. The four-week moving average for new claims fell 9,750 to 349,000."

If the article simply didn't include enough of the actual numbers to make sense of it, that is one thing. If that is NOT the case, then we are left with the "figures lie, and liars figure" kind of thought...

January 10 2014 at 5:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to M's comment
Mitch

You don't know how to read the report. You quoted everything you need to know, yet can't figure it out.

January 13 2014 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
createidea

WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week fell slightly more than expected, pointing to an economy that was continuing to gain steam.

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

January 10 2014 at 10:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to createidea's comment
M

That is only an indication of how the economy might be moving at the time, and is probably the reason a 4-week moving average is used as well.

The ONLY real and true measure is how many people ARE employed, and how many are needing/looking for jobs.

January 10 2014 at 6:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kenny Ford

They didn't find work. They were dropped when their Unemployment ran out. Those were the folks that lost their benefits after 99 weeks. Unemployment is really around 11%. This admin uses smoke and Mirrors and outright Lies. They have been fooling with these figures since before the Election.

January 09 2014 at 11:45 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kenny Ford's comment
drpmindmender

The article refers to people filing FIRST-TIME CLAIMS FOR UNEMPLOYMENT, not ONGOING claims for unemployment. These are figures derived SOLELY from unemployment offices in all 50 states - HARD NUMBERS, not surveys - that are then forwarded to the Federal government.

January 09 2014 at 3:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to drpmindmender's comment
M

Regarding "dickens,cider" comment, if a person is laid off, and has been employed for long enough, they are eligible for UE benefits.
Of course many companies are "smarter" than that. They begin building a file on each employee when they start, and add to it as time goes by. Each 'infraction' may be totally trivial or even justified at the time it occurs, but the totality of the file could be used as the basis of "fired for cause" after review vs. a layoff status, and the employee must challenge the employer's claim... the UE board may agree with only one of the parties, and the employee might not get UE benefits.

Some employers routinely claim ALL job seperations are "fired for cause", just in case they get a sympathetic board, or the employee does not contest the claim.

January 10 2014 at 6:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
drpmindmender

To exnyorker...

If the government surveyed every, single American household every, single month, you'ld scream that it was a waste of taxpayers' dollars, not that you pay any. If the government conducted no surveys at all, and thus released no numbers of any kind, you'ld scream government cover-up.

Go drag your knuckles back into your mommy's basement, and resume playing video games.

January 09 2014 at 11:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
.kowalski440mag

Just started a part-time

January 09 2014 at 10:36 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Valerie

"...indicators that have painted an upbeat picture of the jobs economy and the overall economy." I guess this is why Congress is scrambling to pass yet another unemployment extension --- because the economy is so "upbeat".

Take a poll and ask all the unemployed and underemployed people how great they think the economy is doing.

January 09 2014 at 9:14 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Valerie's comment
drpmindmender

Since you seem to have nothing else better to do with your time, why don't you survey every, single American household every, single month, and give the rest of us the true numbers regarding employment, unemployment, and the state of the economy?

January 09 2014 at 10:14 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to drpmindmender's comment
exnyorker

Drpmindermender: Exactly right. Why are IDIOTS so ARROGANT to suggest MORONIC polling...... selecting just a small (or at least MINORITY) portion of the population with the GOAL of getting a FALSE of SKEWED result ?

I feel bad for the unemployed and underemployed...... and yes.... we ought to do our best to fix the problem short & long-term. But moronic surveys do NOTHING.

January 09 2014 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

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