Jobless Claims a Touch Better, but Labor Market Still Weak

The pace of job losses in the U.S. is slowing even as the total number of workers on benefits continues to set new records. The latest report released on Thursday by the Dept. of Labor said initial jobless claims decreased by 14,000 to a less-than forecast 631,000 in the week that ended April 25, from the previous week’s revised figure of 645,000.  Although better 631K is still elevated but it is helpful news from a psychological standpoint. The 4-week moving average was 637,250, a decrease of 10,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 648,000.

The underlying message here is that the pace of layoffs is slowing, suggesting –  the recession may be easing and could foreshadow the revival in consumer spending that is essential for an economic recovery.

From the DOL: The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 18 was 6,271,000, an increase of 133,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 6,138,000. The 4-week moving average was 6,076,000, an increase of 131,500 from the preceding week’s revised average of 5,944,500.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending April 11 were in:

Michigan (8.0 percent), Oregon (7.7), Pennsylvania (6.7), Wisconsin (6.7), Idaho (6.6), Nevada (6.3), Vermont (6.0), Rhode Island (5.9), Alaska (5.8), Illinois (5.7), and New Jersey (5.7).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending April 18 were in:

California (+8,535), New York (+6,959), Connecticut (+3,086), Georgia (+3,056), and North Carolina (+2,983), while the largest decreases were in Pennsylvania (-7,799), Florida (-7,208), Illinois (-3,803), Ohio (-3,310), and Washington (-2,432).

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