Unemployment Claims Hit Two-Month High

Unemployment Claims Hit Two-Month High
Market News
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

Claims for unemployment benefits jumped to their highest level since late January last week, a sign that labor market growth is weakening. Weekly unemployment benefit applications rose 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 380,000, while the previous week’s figure was revised upward by 10,000 from 357,000 to 367,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. 

The four-week average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figure, was 368,500, an increase of 4,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 364,250.

The news follows a disappointing monthly report on jobs released on Friday. That report showed the economy added 120,000 jobs in March, down from an average of more than 200,000 from December through February.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent in March, but mostly because potential workers gave up their search for jobs.

The jump in weekly claims will add to worries that the stronger growth at the beginning of the year was a mirage similar to the growth seen a year ago. After strong growth in the first few months of 2011, job growth slowed throughout the summer, stunting any momentum the economy might have been giving President Obama last year.

The economy is expected to be the major determining factor in this year’s presidential election, and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney used last week’s jobs report to hammer Obama for his performance on the economy.

The weekly report released Thursday shows unemployment claims are hovering around levels that represent growth and are well below the 416,000 claims during the same period last year.

Economists say that when claims drop consistently below 375,000, job creation is hitting a fast enough pace to lower the unemployment rate.

The increase in job applications underscores Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s concerns that the labor market was growing too fast compared with the nation’s economic expansion.

He has said that demand needs to pick up pace and businesses need to spend more to fuel a faster rate of growth.

The economy grew at an annual rate of 3 percent in the final three months of last year, which was up from 1.8 percent in the third quarter.

Estimates for January-March period this year are running about 2.5 percent.

Some economists downplayed the March figures, saying businesses picked up hiring earlier in the year because of a warm winter and that last month could reflect a temporary drop in jobs, while highlighting that the overall numbers are lower than last year.

The Fed said Wednesday that economy is expanding at a moderate pace, but many areas of the country are feeling the pinch of higher gas prices, according to its Beige Book.

Economic activity was up in five of the 12 Federal Reserve districts, but some business contacts told the central bank that rising gas prices could cut into consumer spending in the coming months.

The Fed reported that hiring was steady or picking up slightly in several areas across the country, as businesses continue searching for highly skilled workers for certain positions.

The Hill

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 Market News

News Preston Waters

Stocks Off to Stellar Start in May

Stocks were kicking off May in high style Tuesday, posting sharp gains after a much better-than-expected report on U.S. manufacturing activity. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was rising 103 points, or 0.8%, at 13,317, after hitting a four-year high at 13,338. The S&P 500 was up 14 points, or 1%, at 1413, and the Nasdaq was adding 23 points, or 0.7%, at […]

News Preston Waters

Bank Of America, JPMorgan: Dow Midday Movers

U.S. stocks were rising in midday action Tuesday following a better-than-expected read on U.S. manufacturing activity.The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 116 points, or 0.9%, at 13,330. The biggest percentage gainers within the Dow were Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Intel (INTC). Shares of Bank of America rose 2.59% to $8.32. The bank said Tuesday it plans to lay […]

News Preston Waters

Monster Stocks Soar Amid Rumors Coca-Cola Is Set To Buy Energy Drink

Monster Beverage Corp’s shares soared on Monday following a report that Coca-Cola Co. was considering buying the energy drink maker. The Wall Street Journal cited unnamed people in reporting that the world’s biggest soft drink maker was in talks to buy Monster. If a deal transpired, Monster would be Coca-Cola’s largest brand acquisition ever. Monster declined […]

News Preston Waters

Stocks Surge After Strong Manufacturing Report

Stocks were surging in morning action Tuesday after a much better-than-expected report on the pace of national manufacturing activity in April.The Dow Jones Industrial Average was rising 80 points, or 0.6%, at 13,294. The S&P 500 was up 12 points, or 0.8%, at 1410, and the Nasdaq was adding 29 points, or 1%, at 3075. Stocks finished modestly lower Monday, marking […]

News Preston Waters

Bank Of America Keeps Shrinking

Bank of America (BAC)’s plan to lay off some of its highest-paid executives looks like the right response to the current banking environment. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday the bank will cut 2,000 positions in its investment banking, commercial banking and non-U.S. wealth-management units targeting “the high-earning employees whose efforts helped Merrill Lynch account for the bulk of […]

News Preston Waters

Stock Market Story: May 1

The first trading day of May got off to a mixed start early Tuesday with all three major U.S. equity indices honing to close to the flat line ahead of a key report on the pace of U.S. manufacturing activity in April. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 9.5 points, or 0.07%, at 13,204.The S&P 500 was up less than a […]

Also On Elite

Sports

When You Uncensor NBA Trash Talk, The Results Are Truly Epic (Video)

One of the best parts of the NBA season, besides it actually starting, is the trash talk. It goes hand-in-hand with the game itself. Players, analysts and especially the fans are ruthless these days. But, there’s still a stark contrast between what’s portrayed on television and how people actually feel. WorldStarHipHop decided to break that […]

LOL Lists

20 People Who Just Very Recently Learned What Consequences Are

Humans are impulsive creatures, and while we like to think of ourselves as rational and logical, there is plenty of evidence out there proving people have an uncanny ability to avoid thinking things through all the way. The Internet is filled with clips of people who decided to hit “record” without stopping to think about […]

Film

Robert Downey, Jr. Confirms There Will Be A Fourth ‘Iron Man’ Movie

There was some doubt about whether or not there would be a fourth “Iron Man” movie and whether or not Robert Downey, Jr. would star in it. But let us doubt no longer as RDJ has cleared the air. Downey, Jr. went on “Ellen” today, and she asked him straight up if there was going […]

Humor

Out Of Nowhere! The RKO Vine Revolution Is Far From Over (Video)

If you had asked me a week ago about the best way to take a compilation of fail videos to the next level, one obvious answer would have come to mind: Splice in a clip of a sad trombone after every face-plant and brush with sterilization. However, that would have been before I knew about […]

Humor

What A Chinese Food Menu Would Look Like If It Were Actually Honest (Photo)

There’s a pretty good chance that at some point in your life you’ve found yourself sitting on your couch in the early hours of the morning with the various intoxicants you’ve consumed since the sun went down, yelling one thing and one thing only: “FEED ME!” Unfortunately, your options are normally limited when you try […]