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Applications for unemployment benefits rise nationally

Associated Press
April 14, 2011
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More people applied for unemployment benefits last week, the first increase in three weeks. Still, the broader trend points to a slowly healing jobs market.

The government says applications for unemployment benefits rose 27,000, to a seasonally adjusted 412,000 for the week ended April 9. That left applications at their highest point since mid-February.

Applications near 375,000 are consistent with a sustained increase in hiring. Applications peaked during the recession at 659,000.

The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, rose to 395,750. However, applications have dropped about 6 percent over the past two months. At the same time, businesses have stepped up hiring.

"The picture we still get — even with this one-week pop — is that the labor market is getting better," said economist Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors. "The unemployment claims trend over an extended period of time is positive."

Companies added more than 200,000 jobs in March for the second straight month, the first time that has happened since 2006. The unemployment rate fell to a two-year low of 8.8 percent and has dropped a full percentage point since November.

However, a more sobering reason for the drop is that the number of people who are either working or seeking a job is surprisingly low for this stage of the recovery. People without jobs who aren't looking for one aren't counted as unemployed. Once they start looking again, they're classified as unemployed, and the unemployment rate can go back up.

The number of people collecting benefits fell to 3.68 million during the week ending April 2, one week behind the applications data. That's the lowest total since late September 2008.

But that doesn't include millions of people receiving aid under the emergency unemployment benefits programs put in place during the recession.

Overall, 8.5 million people received unemployment benefits in the week ending March 26, the latest data available. That's down slightly from the previous week.

Applications for unemployment benefits could rise further in the coming weeks due to disruptions from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Toyota said last week that it will probably be forced to temporarily shut down all of its North American factories. Nissan and Ford Motor Co. have said several North American plants would be closed for some of April.

Businesses in February posted the largest number of job openings in more than two years, evidence that hiring is picking up. Employers advertised 3.1 million available jobs that month, the most since September 2008, the government reported Wednesday.

Google Inc, electronics store hhgregg Inc. and Kohl's Corp. are among the companies that have announced plans in recent weeks to increase hiring.

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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