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U.S. unemployment aid applications hit 10-week low

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The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell by 24,000 last week, to a seasonally adjusted 334,000. The drop left unemployment benefit applications at their lowest level in 10 weeks, the Labor Department said Thursday.

While some of the decline may have been caused by seasonal factors, the broader trend has been favorable. The four-week average, which smooths out fluctuations, fell 5,250, to 351,000.

‘‘We believe labor market conditions remain on a gradually improving trajectory,’’ said Laura Rosner, an economist at BNP Paribas.

Weekly applications data can be volatile in July. Automakers typically shut their factories in the first two weeks of the month to prepare for new models, which leads to a temporary spike in layoffs. But this year much of the industry has skipped or shortened the shutdowns to keep up with stronger demand.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. They have declined 5 percent since January. The drop has coincided with stronger job growth.

Employers added an average of 202,000 jobs a month through the first six months of the year, up from an average of 180,000 in the previous six months.

In June, they added 195,000 jobs, and revisions showed 70,000 more jobs were added in April and May. The unemployment rate stayed at 7.6 percent last month but is down from 8.2 percent a year earlier.

Despite the gains in hiring, economic growth has been weak and many more people are working part-time jobs because full-time unemployment is unavailable. Most economists expect growth slowed in the April-June quarter to an annual rate of 1 percent or less, down from a tepid 1.8 percent rate at the start of the year. That would mark the third straight quarter of growth below 2 percent.

Many economists are hopeful that steady hiring will help spur faster growth in the second half of the year.

More than 4.5 million people received unemployment aid in the week ending June 29, the latest data available. That’s down just 1,900 from the previous week. The number of recipients has fallen 21 percent in the past year.

Recent reports have painted a mixed picture of the economy. Americans bought more cars, clothes and furniture in June, but cut back retail spending almost everywhere else. Excluding purchases in the volatile categories of autos, gas and building materials, retail sales rose at the slowest pace since January.

Meanwhile, factory output grew in June for the second straight month, a separate Fed report said, a sign manufacturers are recovering from a slow start to the year.

More hiring could help the economy grow faster later this year by increasing the number of Americans earning paychecks. That could fuel more consumer spending and overall growth.
 

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  1. What became of this project? Anyone know?

  2. Scott, could you post an enlarged photo of the exterior of the building? This will be a great addition to Walnut Street. This area will only continue to develop with additions like this. Also, please give us more updates on the "Cultural Trail light" expansion. Also a great move for the city, as long as there is maintenance money set aside.

  3. Great story IBJ! Citizens don't have a real sense of the financial magnitude of supporting Indy's sports and tourism sector. The CIB was a brilliant idea for creating a highly integrated public-private partnership to support this sector from the economic activity it generates. Unfortunately, most folks think the benefits of that economic activity accrue directly to the City budget, and it doesn't. So though the CIB is facing lean times (covering its costs while maintaining minimally acceptable reserves), the City is operating with deficit - less tax revenue than expenses each year - with a very fragile reserve balance. That's why it's so challenging for the City to fund basic needs or new intitatives (e.g. pre-k education; new jail), and some credit rating agencies have downgraded Indy from it's past stellar AAA status. More reporting on City finances would be welcomed.

  4. Sure, I'll admit that it bugs me to see that the IBJ.COM censors it's blog posts almost as much as the D of I does when someone points out the falsehoods and fabrications. _____But I think it bothers me almost as much that Captain/Defender/Disciple get his yanked too. You see, those of us with a sense of integrity, humanity, compassion, and a need for fact based opinion WANT to see all of his screeds posted. It makes our point so much better than we can do it ourselves.

  5. We're conflating two very different topics. Voter fraud is a myth and excessive gun violence is all too real. I just hope rational gunowners decide to stop being shouted down by the, well, let's call them "less rational" ones.

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