Wednesday, October 22nd12.2°C
23711
23129

US weekly unemployment benefit applications fall to 326k, but 1.35 million about to lose aid

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 2,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 326,000, a sign that layoffs are weighing less on the job market and economic growth.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average dropped 13,500 to 335,000.

More than 4.7 million Americans collected benefits at the end of last year. The figure has declined almost 1.2 million over the past 12 months. But that number is poised drop by another 1.35 million in upcoming weeks. That's because a special federal program expired last month and is starting to affect recipients.

Applications appear to have stabilized near pre-recession levels, a positive sign for hiring going forward.

The job market had picked up toward the end of last year before losing some momentum in December. A mere 74,000 jobs were created last month, after the economy added an average of 213,500 new jobs in the previous four months.

Many economists blamed the slowdown in hiring on bad weather and statistical quirks, and projected stronger gains in the new year.

The unemployment rate fell last month to 6.7 per cent from 7 per cent in November. Much that decrease came from 347,000 unemployed workers leaving the workforce. The government counts people as unemployed only if they are looking for work.

The expiration of long-term benefits could lead to further declines in the unemployment rate, perhaps as much as a quarter of percentage point in early 2014. That's because many of the former recipients will give up on job searches, which are required in order to receive benefits.

The program provided up to 47 extra weeks of unemployment benefits, paid for by the federal government. Those benefits offered payments averaging $256 a week to the long-term unemployed who exhausted their state benefits, which usually last for six months.

The Senate failed to advance an extension of benefits on Tuesday after lawmakers devoted a week toward hammering out a deal.

Because the figures for all benefits recipients are released with a two-week lag, the Labor Department has yet to report the impact of the program's end.

There are signs that recent hiring has helped to bolster the economy. Consumer confidence and retail spending have picked up in the October-December quarter. Orders to U.S. manufacturers rose in November, a sign that businesses are investing more on factory-made items such as machinery, computers and electrical goods.

The economy remains far from healthy. Income rose at a slower pace than spending last month, so Americans are spending more but saving less. And sales of existing homes have dropped for three straight months, held back by higher prices and mortgage rates.

Still, many economists have become more optimistic about the fourth quarter. Several are projecting a strong annual growth rate of 3 per cent or more.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

22831


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14312.07-235.64
S&P CDNX808.00-14.28
DJIA16461.32-153.49
Nasdaq4382.847-36.632
S&P 5001927.11-14.17
CDN Dollar0.8897+0.0002
Gold1242.50-3.00
Oil80.08-0.05
Lumber330.70+2.00
Natural Gas3.662+0.003

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.12+0.02
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.15-0.02
Cantex0.055-0.025
Anavex Life Sciences0.198+0.006
Metalex Ventures0.05+0.005
Russel Metals32.53-0.56
Copper Mountain Mining2.10-0.07
Colorado Resources0.145-0.005
ReliaBrand Inc0.013+0.001
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.05-0.01
Mission Ready Services0.405-0.055

 





FEATURED Property
20760354850 Rittich Road
3 bedrooms 1 baths
$630,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Keep it rubber side down

This time of year, I always worry about which friends of mine will get caught going off the road in adverse weather conditions. With a little preparation most accidents can be avoided. Having won the...


Big bank predicts rate hike

Photo: Thinkstock.comThe end of record-low rates is nigh, according to one major bank, which has taken a stance and predicted when the Bank of Canada will raise its long-standing overnight rate. &ldq...


Experts share strategies in Kelowna

The third week in October is “Small Business Week”, a week dedicated to supporting local, small businesses. The week was designed to bring awareness to Canadians about the role small busin...

_








Member of BC Press Council


22771