Wednesday, July 23rd25.6°C
22714
21901

Applications for US unemployment benefits fall to 319,000, a sign of steady job market

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 26,000 last week to 319,000, the latest sign that the job market is slowly improving.

The drop follows two weeks of increases that reflected mostly temporary layoffs around the Easter holiday. The holiday can cause an uptick in layoffs of bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other school workers during spring break. Those earlier increases caused the four-week average of applications, a less volatile number, to rise 4,500 to a seasonally adjusted 324,750.

With the impact of the holiday fading, applications are returning to pre-recession levels. The average fell in early April to 312,000, the fewest since October 2007. The recession officially began in December 2007.

"Through the volatility, the data remain encouraging," said Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

The four-week average of applications is down from an average of 343,000 for all of last year, O'Sullivan noted. That is "consistent with the pick-up in employment growth" that's taken place this year, he added. Monthly job gains have averaged 214,000 from January through April, up from 194,000 in 2013.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs, and so the decline suggests that companies are cutting fewer jobs. That trend is typically followed by more hiring, though the relationship is not always exact.

About 2.69 million people are receiving benefits, 76,000 fewer than in the previous week. That figure has fallen nearly 11 per cent in the past year. An additional 1.3 million people lost benefits when an emergency program that had provided up to 47 extra weeks of aid expired at the end of 2013.

Employers have stepped up hiring in recent months. The economy gained 288,000 jobs in April, the most in 2 1/2 years, the government said last week.

In addition, the unemployment rate plunged to 6.3 per cent from 6.7 per cent. But that drop occurred because fewer people looked for work. The government doesn't count people as unemployed unless they are actively searching.

The improved hiring should help boost economic growth for the rest of this year.

The economy barely expanded in the first three months of the year, growing at an annual rate of just 0.1 per cent. That was largely because a brutal winter kept consumers away from shopping malls, shut down factories and discouraged home and car sales.

But many signs suggest that the economy has rebounded since then as the weather has warmed. Most analysts estimate that the economy is growing at a healthy annual pace of about 3.5 per cent in the current April-June quarter.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News




Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX15394.38+79.25
S&P CDNX1012.231.35
DJIA17086.63-26.91
Nasdaq4473.697+17.681
S&P 5001987.01+3.48
CDN Dollar0.9323-0.0001
Gold1313.40+4.2001
Oil104.30-0.29
Lumber332.40-0.90
Natural Gas3.765-0.007

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.200.00
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.15-0.04
Cantex0.08+0.02
Anavex Life Sciences0.325-0.005
Metalex Ventures0.07+0.005
Russel Metals35.65+0.05
Copper Mountain Mining2.76-0.07
Colorado Resources0.2150.00
ReliaBrand Inc0.10+0.019
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.025-0.005
Mission Ready Services0.19+0.01

 





FEATURED Property
197553810-4100 Gallaghers Parkland Dr.
2 bedrooms 3 baths
$719,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Labour shortage in BC

The mainstream media are finally waking up to something unusual in British Columbia – a labour shortage. If the experience of Alberta is a guide to our own future, the highly skilled labour will...


Learn to delegate effectively

Photo: ContributedI have the pleasure of witnessing people delegate tasks quite often. Sometimes with tremendous success and sometimes with disastrous consequences. I have chaired a lot of committees...


Euro debt woes re-emerge

Big Picture Euro debt woes re-emerge Europe’s debt woes jumped back into the headlines this week trumping other economic, geopolitical and corporate developments. Word that one of Portugal&rsquo...

_








Member of BC Press Council


22581