IBJNews

New jobless claims drop for first time in 4 weeks

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

New requests for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week, the first decline in a month and a hopeful sign after a raft of negative economic reports.

New claims for jobless aid dropped by 31,000, to a seasonally adjusted 473,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Still, claims remain much higher than they would be in a healthy economy. Employers are reluctant to hire as economic growth appears to be slowing.

The drop comes after a steep rise the previous three weeks that sent claims to their highest level in nine months. Those increases raised fears that businesses were starting to lay off more workers.

Wall Street economists had expected a smaller drop, according to surveys by Thomson Reuters. Stock futures rose immediately after the report's release.

Even with last week's decline, the four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose to 486,750, the most since November 2009.

The department also said the total unemployment benefit rolls climbing steeply, as more people join extended unemployment aid programs that were renewed last month by Congress. During the recession, Congress added up to 73 weeks of emergency aid on top of the 26 weeks typically provided by the states.

All told, about 10.1 million people were receiving unemployment checks in the week ended Aug. 7, the latest data available. That's up about 260,000 from the previous week.

The economy has grown for four straight quarters. But the pace has slowed from a 5 percent annual rate in last year's fourth quarter to 3.7 percent in the January-to-March period. It has weakened even further in the past several months.

Many economists expect the government Friday to revise lower its growth estimate for the April-June quarter to below 2 percent. That's weak in normal times and even worse after such a steep recession.

The housing sector, which usually helps power economic recoveries, is now acting as a drag. New home sales fell 12.4 percent in July to the lowest level in nearly a half-century, the government reported Wednesday. And another report this week showed that sales of previously occupied homes fell to their lowest level in 15 years. Sales are plummeting after a popular homebuyer's tax credit expired April 30.

Jobless claims fell steadily last year as the economy began expanding, dropping from a peak of 651,000 in March 2009 to about 460,000 at the beginning of this year. After fluctuating around that level for most of this year, claims started climbing again last month.

In a healthy economy, claims generally fall below 400,000.

Some companies are still cutting workers. Northrop Grumman Corp. said Wednesday that it will lay off 642 workers at its shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., by the end of the year. The shipyard currently has 11,000 employees.

And in late July, a NASA private contractor, the United Space Alliance, began telling 1,400 employees that they would be laid off in the fall as the U.S. space agency ends the space shuttle program.

The United Space Alliance is owned by Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. and has 8,100 employees.

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. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

  2. Merchants Square is back. The small strip center to the south of 116th is 100% leased, McAlister’s is doing well in the outlot building. The former O’Charleys is leased but is going through permitting with the State and the town of Carmel. Mac Grill is closing all of their Indy locations (not just Merchants) and this will allow for a new restaurant concept to backfill both of their locations. As for the north side of 116th a new dinner movie theater and brewery is under construction to fill most of the vacancy left by Hobby Lobby and Old Navy.

  3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

  4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

  5. 1. There is no allegation of corruption, Marty, to imply otherwise if false. 2. Is the "State Rule" a law? I suspect not. 3. Is Mr. Woodruff obligated via an employment agreement (contractual obligation) to not work with the engineering firm? 4. In many states a right to earn a living will trump non-competes and other contractual obligations, does Mr. Woodruff's personal right to earn a living trump any contractual obligations that might or might not be out there. 5. Lawyers in state government routinely go work for law firms they were formally working with in their regulatory actions. You can see a steady stream to firms like B&D from state government. It would be interesting for IBJ to do a review of current lawyers and find out how their past decisions affected the law firms clients. Since there is a buffer between regulated company and the regulator working for a law firm technically is not in violation of ethics but you have to wonder if decisions were made in favor of certain firms and quid pro quo jobs resulted. Start with the DOI in this review. Very interesting.

ADVERTISEMENT