U.S. Jobless Claims Remain Elevated

U.S. Jobless Claims Remain Elevated
News
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

The number of Americans who applied for jobless benefits remained elevated for the third straight week, suggesting potential weakening in the U.S. labor market. Jobless claims fell by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000 in the week ended April 21, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.

Claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 389,000 — the highest level since the first week of January — from an original reading of 386,000.

The level of claims is a rough gauge of whether layoffs are rising or falling. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had projected claims would fall to 375,000 in the latest week. Many believe the spike in April largely stems from spring break — when school workers can file for temporary benefits — and a late Easter holiday.

Yet expectations that claims would resume a downward trend that began last fall have so far failed to materialize. Claims are 7% higher compared to early February’s four-year low of 361,000. What’s more, a string of recent data suggesting some softening in the economy has raised concerns about whether the recovery will accelerate in the months ahead.

A downturn in Europe could hurt U.S. exports, for instance, and higher gas prices could be a drag.

The government’s method for seasonally adjusting the data has also come into question. Some economists believe the adjustments exaggerated the drop in claims earlier in 2012, contributing to the recent increase as the data are smoothened out.

“As we continually note, the recent rise in claims appears to reflect imperfect seasonal adjustment rather than a marked deterioration,” said economist Jeffrey Greenberg of Nomura Securities. “The rise should not be taken as a sign that there is fundamental weakening in the labor market.”

Yet others say the recent run of higher claims data may signal some actual slippage. “Initial claims failed to decline as expected in the latest week, suggesting recent increase goes beyond seasonal adjustment distortions,” economists at Goldman Sachs wrote in a report.

A clearer picture of the labor market will emerge next week with the April employment report. The Labor Department is expected to announce that 193,000 jobs were created, according to the latest MarkeWatch forecast.

Any number sharply below market expectations would intensify concerns about another slowdown in hiring, especially after a disappointing increase of 120,000 in March, based on a preliminary estimate.

Meanwhile, the average of new claims over the past four weeks climbed by 6,250 to 381,750, matching the first week of January as the highest level of the year. The four-week average reduces seasonal volatility in the weekly data and is seen as a more accurate barometer of labor-market trends.

Also Thursday, the Labor Department said continuing claims increased by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.32 million in the week ended April 14. Continuing claims, which reflect people already receiving benefits, are handled by the states and typically last six months.

About 6.68 million people received some kind of state or federal benefit in the week ended April 7, down 87,160 from the prior week. Total claims are reported with a two-week lag.

Elite.

Share Tweet
React
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

Preston Waters

Preston Waters is a thinker. He's not your traditional philosophical persona, however, as he leaves no topic untouched. Covering all the bases, from business to women, Preston Waters is the ultimate man's man for Gen-Y.

More In News

World Sean Levinson

Men In Pakistan Make Curry Using Over 100 Dead Bodies They Dug Up

Pakistan has decided that 2014 is probably a good time to officially declare cannibalism a crime. The two proposed laws were inspired by brothers Mohammad Arif Ali, 35, and Mohammad Farman Ali, 30, who were found last April to have dug up over 100 dead bodies from a local graveyard to feast upon. Residents of […]

World John Haltiwanger

4 Reasons Why You Won’t Catch Ebola On The Subway

Ebola has now arrived in New York City, which has prompted fears about the potential of the disease to spread across the city. It’s understandable that this news would be frightening to people. After all, New York is the most populous city in the country, and Ebola is a foreign disease with no cure. Not […]

World Sean Levinson

High School Shooting In Washington Leaves Two Dead And Four Injured

A high school student fatally shot himself and one other student at a Washington school just north of Seattle this morning. Up to four others were injured, all of whom are students. Shots were reported to have been fired at Marysville-Pilchuck High School at around 10:45 am. The Seattle Times reports that the shooter, believed […]

World Sean Levinson

Cellist Eerily Plays A Duet With Her Own Brainwaves (Video)

Chicago Symphony Orchestra cellist Katinka Kleijn has composed a duet combining her cello with the sound her brainwaves make. She did this by way of an EPOC Neuroheadset, an electroencephalography (EEG) device containing 14 sensors that records the speed, volume and depth of her brain activity, the Chicago Reader reports. Sound engineer Ryan Ingebritsen and […]

World Emily Arata

You Can Now Buy A $2,000 UGG Rug That’s As Cozy As It Is Ridiculous

If you’re in the market for a new rug, look no further than UGG’s just-introduced home collection. The selection of luxury furnishings includes a $2,000 Classic Leather-Bound Rug made from “sumptuous” wool. In case the price doesn’t throw you off, the rug’s fine print mentions it can’t be exposed to sunlight or washed. Instead, this […]

Also On Elite

World

Malala Yousafzai Has Just Become The Youngest Winner Of The Nobel Peace Prize

Pakistani education activist and feminist icon Malala Yousafzai has become one of two recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. The 17-year-old is the youngest ever to win the prize. Sharing the award with her is Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, 60. Yousafzai was shot in the face by Taliban militants on a school bus […]

World

College Students Pay It Forward By Tipping Pizza Delivery Guy $1,300

Anyone who has ever worked in the service industry knows that tips are extremely important; they’re basically what you live off. So, the lucky Domino’s delivery guy who scored a $1,300 tip must have been pretty stoked to have been on pizza duty that day. James Gilpin delivered a pizza to a prayer group at […]