IBJNews

U.S. jobless claims hold steady for second straight week

Associated Press
May 17, 2012
Keywords
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The number of people seeking unemployment benefits was unchanged last week, suggesting some gains in the job market.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly unemployment aid applications stayed at a seasonally adjusted 370,000, the same level as the previous week. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell for the second straight week, to 375,000.

Applications for benefits surged in April to a five-month high of 392,000. They have fallen back since then and are near the lowest levels in four years.

The decline suggests hiring could pick up in May after slumping in the previous two months. When applications drop below 375,000 a week, it generally suggests hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate has fallen from 9.1 percent in August to 8.1 percent last month. And employers have added a million jobs over the past five months.

The pace of hiring slowed sharply in March and April, to an average of 135,000 jobs per month. That raised fears that the job market was weakening.

But some economists have cautioned that a warm winter led companies to move up some hiring and accelerate other activity that normally wouldn't occur until spring. That gave the appearance that the economy had strengthened in January and February and weakened in early spring.

And temporary layoffs stemming from spring holidays likely pushed unemployment benefit applications higher in April, economists noted.

If applications stay where they are or fall further, job growth should pick up. The gains may not match those from earlier in the year, when the economy averaged 252,000 jobs per month from December through February. But several economists said they expect somewhere in the range of 150,000 to 200,000 new jobs each month.

A jump in job openings supports the notion of stronger hiring in the coming months. Employers advertised 3.74 million job openings in March, the most since July 2008. It usually takes one to three months for employers to fill openings.

Other signs suggest the economy is strengthening after its early spring lull.

Home construction rose to near a three-year high in April. And factory output has risen in three of the year's first four months.

The gains, highlighted in data released Wednesday, suggest growth in the April-June quarter is off to a good start.

Consumers are also finally seeing some relief from high gas prices. The average price of a gallon of gas was $3.73 on Wednesday, according to AAA. That's 18 cents less than a month ago.

So consumers should have more money for other purchases, which could also boost second-quarter growth and help lift hiring. Consumer spending drives roughly 70 percent of economic activity in the U.S.

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. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

  2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

  3. Biggest scam ever!! Took 307 out of my bank ac count. Never received a single call! They prey on new small business and flat out rob them! Do not sign up with these thieves. I filed a complaint with the ftc. I suggest doing the same ic they robbed you too.

  4. Woohoo! We're #200!!! Absolutely disgusting. Bring on the congestion. Indianapolis NEEDS it.

  5. So Westfield invested about $30M in developing Grand Park and attendance to date is good enough that local hotel can't meet the demand. Carmel invested $180M in the Palladium - which generates zero hotel demand for its casino acts. Which Mayor made the better decision?

ADVERTISEMENT