IBJNews

Applications for unemployment aid fall slightly

Associated Press
August 9, 2012
Keywords
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 361,000, a level consistent with only modest gains in hiring.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average rose by 2,250, to 368,250, in the week that ended Aug. 4.

Weekly applications bounced around in July, skewed by the difficulty of accounting for temporary summertime layoffs in the auto industry. The seasonal distortions had faded by last week.

Applications measure the pace of layoffs. When they consistently fall below 375,000, it typically suggests hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.

Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said fewer unemployment applications suggest that job market is fairly stable.

"The pick-up in jobs growth in July may therefore be sustained in August," Dales said.

The economy added 163,000 jobs in July, the biggest increase since February. From April through June, employers had created a lackluster 73,000 jobs a month, not enough to keep up with a rising population.

"The improvement in jobless claims has been a most welcome development," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG. But he noted that unemployment claims were still high considering the recession ended more than three years ago. Claims averaged 328,000 in November 2004, three years after the 2001 recession: "So clearly more work needs to be done," he said.

The total number of people receiving some kind of benefits also fell. Nearly 5.8 million received aid in the week that ended July 21, the most recent data available. That's 200,000 less than a week earlier.

Despite the improvement in hiring in July, the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent, from 8.2 percent in June.

Most economists say growth must be stronger to generate enough jobs to lower unemployment. The economy grew at an annual rate of 1.5 percent from April through June, down from 2 percent in the first quarter and 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

In a hopeful sign, U.S. employers posted the most job openings in four years in June. The Labor Department said this week that job openings rose to a seasonally adjusted 3.8 million in June from 3.7 million in May. That's the most since July 2008. Layoffs fell. A rise in openings could signal better hiring in the coming months. It typically takes one to three months to fill a job.

Even with the increase, hiring is competitive. There were 12.7 million unemployed people in June, or an average of 3.4 unemployed people for each job.

U.S. companies got a bit more out of their workers in the spring. Their productivity grew at a slim 1.6 percent annualized rate in the April-June quarter, signaling that employers may have to hire more if orders pick up.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

ADVERTISEMENT