US sees surprising rise in 1st time jobless benefit claims | Shanghai Daily

The story appears on

Page B7

August 21, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Business » Economy

US sees surprising rise in 1st time jobless benefit claims

THE number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the United States rose unexpectedly for the second straight week, a sign that jobs remain scarce even as other data show the economy is stabilizing.

The Labor Department said yesterday the number of new jobless claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 576,000 last week, from a revised figure of 561,000. Wall Street economists expected a drop to 550,000, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

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

The figures are volatile, and had been trending down, after remaining above 600,000 for most of this year. The new report indicates that the labor market is still weak. In a healthy economy, initial claims are usually around 325,000 or below. The four-week average of initial claims, which smooths out fluctuations, rose for the second straight week to 570,000.

The number of people remaining on the benefit rolls dropped by 2,000 to 6.24 million. Analysts had expected a slight decline. The continuing claims figures lag initial claims by a week.

When federal emergency programs are included, the total number of jobless benefit recipients was 9.18 million in the week that ended August 1, the most recent data available. That was down from 9.25 million in the previous week. Congress has added up to 53 extra weeks of benefits on top of the 26 typically provided by the states.

The large number of people remaining on the rolls is an indication that unemployed workers are having a hard time finding new jobs.

Still, layoffs have slowed recently. The department said earlier this month that companies cut 247,000 jobs in July, a large amount but still the smallest number in almost a year.

The unemployment rate dipped to 9.4 percent in July from 9.5 percent, its first drop in 15 months. But many private economists and the Federal Reserve think the rates could top 10 percent by next year.




 

Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend