Weekly jobless claims unexpectedly fall last week

WASHINGTON Thu Aug 9, 2012 8:38am EDT

A man grabs his briefcase as he waits in line to speak with employers at the UJA-Federation Connect to Care job fair in New York, March 21, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

A man grabs his briefcase as he waits in line to speak with employers at the UJA-Federation Connect to Care job fair in New York, March 21, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly fell last week, government data showed on Thursday, suggesting a modest improvement in the labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 361,000, the Labor Department said. The prior week's figure was revised up to 367,000 from the previously reported 365,000.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 370,000 last week. The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, rose 2,250 to 368,250.

A Labor Department official said there was nothing unusual in the state-level data and no state had been estimated.

Problems anticipating the timing of temporary plant shutdowns by automakers for annual retooling caused wide swings in claims in July, making it difficult to get a clean read of the jobs market.

Last week's report was the first in several weeks not affected by auto plant shutdowns, and the drop in new applications offered a hopeful sign for the labor market.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 163,000 in July, the most in five months, after three months of gains below 100,000. But the unemployment rate rose by a tenth of a percentage point to 8.3 percent.

Worries of deep government spending cuts and higher taxes scheduled to kick in at the turn of the year and Europe's on-going debt crisis were making companies cautious about hiring new workers, economists say.

The number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid rose 53,000 to 3.33 million in the week ended July 28, the claims report showed.

A total of 5.75 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits under all programs in the week ended July 21, down 214,367 from the prior week.

(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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Comments (2)
whyknot wrote:
Any movement that is not negative is good. If we could keep politics out of business that would be good too.

Aug 09, 2012 9:19am EDT  --  Report as abuse
bobber1956 wrote:
@whyknot I am for positive as long as the postitive is real…

But the bottom lines:

“The number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid ROSE 53,000 to 3.33 million in the week ended July 28, the claims report showed” and

“the unemployment rate ROSE by a tenth of a percentage point to 8.3 percent”
I am not a politician and those both rose so I guess that is positive right? That sounds like a politician with a bit D after his name.

Also “A total of 5.75 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits under all programs in the week ended July 21, down 214,367 from the prior week”. I wonder how many of those people ran out of benefits and are now on welfare? Reuters did not say…

All this “reporting” and number tweaking means NOTHING unless we get Jobs Jobs Jobs. And with the policies of the current administration that is NOT happening and won’t.

Aug 09, 2012 11:09am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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