Jobless Claims Rise Slightly

Published by: Frank Galvano on 21st Jul 2011 | View all blogs by Frank Galvano
Jobless Claims Rise Slightly

The US Labor Department reported Thursday that initial jobless claims were higher than expected in the week ended July 16, climbing 10,000 from the previous week to 418,000.  Economists taking part in a recent Bloomberg News survey had forecast claims would rise just 2,000.  The figures include about 1,750 jobs furloughed by the government shutdown in Minnesota.

US employers have been reluctant to ramp up hiring in recent months over fear that the economic recovery is slowing and a growing sense that lawmakers will fail to come to an agreement to raise the nation's debt limit by August 2nd, the deadline for the move to avoid a US default on its obligations.  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke last week said that a recent string of reports are indicative of “continuing weakness” in the nation's labor market.

The four week moving average of claims, a measure designed to smooth out the volatility of weekly data, fell to 421,250, its lowest level in three months.  Economists' projections ranged from 385,000 to 430,000 in the Bloomberg survey, in which 46 economists were polled.  The previous week's total was revised from 405,000 to 408,000.  The number of Americans receiving jobless benefits beyond the initial week fell by 50,000 in the week ended July 9th to 3.7 million.  This figure does not include Americans receiving extended benefits under federal programs.

Those who've used up their traditional state benefits and are now collecting checks under emergency and extended benefit programs totaled 3.7 million in the week ended July 2nd, a decrease of about 133,000 from the prior week. 

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