Increase in number of new jobless claims in US | Shanghai Daily

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October 23, 2009

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Increase in number of new jobless claims in US

THE number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for jobless benefits in the United States rose more than expected last week, after falling in five of the past six weeks, as employers remain reluctant to hire even with the economy showing signs of recovery.

The Labor Department yesterday said new jobless claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 531,000 last week, from an upwardly revised 520,000 the previous week.

Economists closely watch initial claims, which are considered a gauge of layoffs and an indication of companies' willingness to hire new workers.

The four-week average of claims fell slightly to 532,250, the lowest since mid-January and about 125,000 below the peak for the recession reached this spring. But claims remain well above the 325,000 that economists say is consistent with a healthy economy.

The number of people continuing to claim benefits did drop for the fifth straight week to 5.9 million, from just over 6 million. The figures on continuing claims lag initial claims by a week.

Many recipients are moving onto extended benefit programs approved by Congress in response to the recession, which began in December 2007 and is the worst since the 1930s. Those extensions add up to 53 weeks of benefits on top of the 26 typically provided by the states.

When those programs are included, the total number of recipients dropped to 8.8 million in the week ending October 3, the latest data available, down about 50,000 from the previous week. That decline is likely due to recipients running out of benefits, rather than finding jobs, economists say.

Many analysts expect the economy grew as much as 3 percent in the July-September quarter, but employers are reluctant to hire as they wait to see if such growth can be maintained.




 

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