Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
In this , Friday, June 21, 2013, photo, a Help Wanted sign is displayed in the window of a restaurant at a shopping center in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Unemployment benefit applications rise, but levels still signal steady hiring
First Published Jul 11 2013 08:22 am • Last Updated Jul 11 2013 08:22 am

The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits rose 16,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 360,000, although the level remains consistent with steady hiring.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average increased 6,000 to 351,750.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The weekly applications data can be volatile in July because some automakers briefly shut down their factories to prepare for new models and many schools close. Those factors can create a temporary spike in layoffs.

The broader trend has been favorable. Applications have declined steadily in the past year, as companies have laid off fewer workers and stepped up hiring. In the past six months, employers have added an average of 202,000 jobs a month. That’s up from an average of 180,000 in the previous six months.

Yelena Shulyatyeva, an economist at BNP Paribas, said the volatility will likely continue for the rest of the month and "could mask the true underlying trend in jobless claims data."

"We believe that labor market conditions remain on a gradually improving trajectory," she added.

Employers added 195,000 jobs in June, and revisions showed that an additional 70,000 jobs were added in the previous two months. The unemployment rate was 7.6 percent, down from 8.2 percent a year earlier.

Applications fell to their lowest level since the recession began in the April-June quarter, according to calculations by Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank. They averaged 346,000 a week in the second quarter. That is the lowest quarterly average since it was 338,000 in the final three months of 2007, when the Great Recession began.

About 4.5 million people received unemployment benefits in the week ending June 22, the latest data available. That’s about 50,000 fewer than the previous week. It’s also 23 percent lower than a year ago, when there were nearly 5.9 million recipients. Some of those who no longer receive benefits have gotten jobs, but many have simply used up all the benefits available.

More hiring could help the economy grow faster later this year. The economy expanded at an annual rate of just 1.8 percent in the January-March quarter. Most analysts think it slowed even further in the second quarter, to about 1 percent to 1.5 percent.


story continues below
story continues below

Greater hiring means more Americans are earning paychecks, which boosts income and potentially fuels more spending. Average hourly wages rose 2.2 percent in June compared to a year earlier, ahead of the 1.4 percent inflation rate. Pay gains have started to outpace inflation this year, after barely keeping pace since the recession ended four years ago.

That’s helped push consumer confidence to a 5½-year high. Greater consumer confidence is also helping drive up sales of homes and cars. From January through June, car sales reached their highest total for the first half of the year since 2007. And sales of previously occupied homes topped 5 million in May for the first time in 3 ½ years



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
  • Access your e-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.