Jobless Claims Rise, Reversing Four Weeks of Declines

Thursday, 20 Dec 2012 08:36 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week by 17,000, reversing four weeks of declines. But the number of people seeking aid is consistent with a job market that continues to grow modestly.

Unemployment claims rose the week of Dec. 15 to a seasonally adjusted 361,000 from a revised 344,000 the week before.

The less-volatile four-week moving average fell 13,750 to 367,750, lowest since late October. Applications had surged in early November after Superstorm Sandy, then dropped back.

Just over 5.4 million people were receiving some type of unemployment benefit the week ended Dec. 1, down from nearly 7.2 million a year earlier.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. So the drop of the four-week average suggests that companies are cutting fewer jobs, even if they aren't hiring enough to lower the unemployment rate significantly. The economy has generated an average of 151,000 jobs a month in 2012, not enough to significantly drive down high unemployment.

The unemployment rate did drop to a four-year low of 7.7 percent in November from 7.9 percent in October. But the rate fell mostly because unemployed people gave up looking for work. The government counts people as unemployed only if they're actively seeking jobs.

Still, the steady drop in unemployment applications suggests that companies aren't laying off workers in advance of the "fiscal cliff" — the package of tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect next year if Democrats and Republicans can't reach a budget deal.

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he was "pretty close" to an agreement with House Speaker John Boehner to avoid a Jan. 1 shock to the economy. But Democrats and Republicans are still sparring over details of Obama's effort to raise taxes on higher-income earners.

The U.S. economy has endured weak growth since the Great Recession ended in mid-2009. The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the economy grew at a better-than-expected 3.1 percent annual pace from July through September. It has grown at a tepid 2.1 percent pace the first nine months of the year.

Economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics don't expect much progress in 2013. They expect the economy to expand at a 2.1 percent pace next year. They expect unemployment to remain high, averaging 7.7 percent next year.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Russia's Credit Rating Kept Above Junk by S&P on Reserves

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 14:24 PM

Russia's investment-grade credit rating was affirmed by Standard & Poor's, dispelling concern that a downgrade to junk m . . .

Housing Recovery Seen as Fragile Despite Sales at 6-Year High

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 12:17 PM

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose to a six-year high in September, but a sharp downward revision to August's sa . . .

New Home Sales Rise in September, but August Pace Cut

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 10:07 AM

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose to a six-year high in September, but a sharp downward revision to August's sa . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved