Tuesday, October 13th10.8°C

Applications for US unemployment benefits dipped last week, latest sign of scant layoffs

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits declined last week, the latest evidence that a sharp economic slowdown earlier this year hasn't caused employers to cut jobs.

Weekly unemployment benefit applications fell 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 312,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose 2,000 to 314,000.

The average has fallen 9 per cent since the beginning of this year. Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the declines indicate that companies are cutting fewer jobs.

The figures come a day after the government said the economy shrank at a 2.9 per cent annual rate in the first three months of the year, the worst reading since early 2009, when the U.S. was mired in the depths of the recession.

The number of people actually receiving benefits inched up by 12,000 to 2.57 million. But the small increase comes after the level fell to a six-year low in the previous week.

When businesses are confident enough to keep staff, they are also likely to hire more people.

The low level of applications indicates employers haven't been rattled by the first quarter's dismal showing, which many economists have partly blamed on bad weather. If businesses feared the economy was tumbling into a recession, they would likely ramp up layoffs.

Instead, they are hiring at a healthy pace. Employers added 217,000 jobs in May, the fourth straight month of gains above 200,000. That's the first such stretch since 1999. The unemployment rate remained 6.3 per cent in May, the lowest in more than five years.

Other data also suggest the economy has recovered from the bad first quarter. Factory output is rising, auto sales have reached a nine-year high and businesses are ordering more equipment.

Most analysts forecast the economy will expand at a 3.5 per cent annual rate or higher in the April-June quarter, and at a 3 per cent rate in the second half of the year.

The Canadian Press

Read more Business News


Recent Trending

Today's Market
S&P TSX13844.73-119.63
S&P CDNX553.38+1.12
S&P 5002003.69-13.77
CDN Dollar0.7687+0.0011
Natural Gas2.496-0.002

Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.215-0.010
QHR Technologies Inc1.23-0.02
Metalex Ventures0.07+0.02
Russel Metals20.96-0.30
Copper Mountain Mining0.60-0.06
Colorado Resources0.07+0.00
ReliaBrand Inc0.0225-0.0020
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.02+0.00
Mission Ready Services0.075-0.005
Decisive Dividend Corp3.07-0.18
Diamcor Mining1.00+0.03


21374692050 Shannon Lake Road
4 bedrooms 3 baths
more details
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading

Income for life?

Photo: Thinkstock.comIn almost every conversation I have with clients these days, the topic swings to interest rates. What direction they’re going, how long will they stay where they are and how...

Perfect (reno'd) home

Photo: Thinkstock.comHow many times have you found a home in the perfect location, but it needs too much work as per the home inspection? There is a great program available through most lenders that w...

5 Claim misconceptions

Photo: Thinkstock.comIf you have been hurt in an accident or as a result of medical negligence you will likely look to your friends and family for some advice on how to deal with the situation. These ...



Member of BC Press Council