Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
In this Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 photo, Karina Abdul-Haqq, of Newark, N.J, center, completes a job application at a job fair sponsored by Swissport, in Newark N.J. The Labor Department reports Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, on the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits for the first time in the last week. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Unemployment aid requests decline to 366K
First Published Feb 07 2013 07:30 am • Last Updated Feb 07 2013 08:01 am

WASHINGTON • Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, indicating companies continue to hire at a modest but steady pace.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 366,000.

At a glance

How states fared on unemployment benefit claims

The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to a level consistent with steady job gains. The Labor Department said weekly applications dropped 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 366,000.

Here are the states with the biggest changes in unemployment aid applications. The state data are for the week ended Jan. 26, one week behind the national data.

States with the biggest decreases:

California » Down 20,414, due to fewer layoffs in services

Texas » Down 5,082, no reason given

Illinois » Down 4,865, due to fewer layoffs in construction and administrative support

Florida » Down 3,570, due to fewer layoffs in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, trade, retail and services

Michigan » Down 2,795, due to fewer layoffs in administrative support

Ohio » Down 2,588, due to fewer layoffs in manufacturing

State with the biggest increases:

North Carolina » Up 2,030, due to layoffs in the construction, petroleum, and building material industries

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped to 350,500, the lowest in nearly five years. The average is low because of seasonal factors, which reduced applications sharply last month.

Still, economists were encouraged by the decline. Weekly applications are a proxy for layoffs. When layoffs decline, net hiring typically rises.

The drop in the four-week average "is good news and supports the view that the U.S. labor market is gradually improving," said Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets.

The four-week average of applications has dropped nearly 6 percent in the past three months. At the same time, hiring has picked up: Employers added an average of 200,000 jobs a month from November through January.

In January, employers added 157,000 jobs. And annual revisions included in the Labor Department’s January employment report showed the economy created 600,000 more jobs in 2011 and 2012 than previously thought.

Still, the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent in January from 7.8 percent in December. Economists expect unemployment will decline if hiring continues at last year’s monthly pace of 180,000. The rate fell 0.7 percentage points in 2012.

Overall, nearly 5.6 million people received unemployment benefits in the week ended Jan. 19, the latest data available. That’s about 325,000 fewer than the previous week.

That’s also less than half the number of unemployed, which stood at 12.3 million last month. Many of the unemployed aren’t eligible for benefits, while others have used up all the benefits available to them.


story continues below
story continues below

More hiring and income are needed to fuel greater economic growth. The economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the October-December quarter. But the decline was mostly caused by deep cuts in defense spending and sluggish growth in company stockpiles — one-time events that analysts say are likely rebounding in the current quarter.

Economists expect growth of around 2 percent this year. Strength in areas like housing and auto sales could partly offset government spending cuts this year.

Home builders are stepping up construction to meet rising demand. That should create more construction jobs. Home prices and sales are also increasing.

The housing recovery is boosting jobs at home-supply stores and retailers. Home Depot said Wednesday that it plans to hire 80,000 temporary employees for the spring selling season. The jobs will be part-time and full-time, the company said.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.