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Citigroup Inc. Message Board

  • cchaker cchaker Jul 22, 2010 3:00 PM Flag

    JOBLESS CLAIMS JUMP in latest week

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The number of people submitting initial applications for state unemployment insurance benefits jumped 37,000 to stand at a higher-than-expected 464,000 last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Claims had fallen to a two-year low level in the prior week, but economists had said the number was unsustainably low. Some auto plants that normally shut down around the July 4 holiday remained open this year, they pointed out. This led to a drop-off in initial claims over the past couple weeks before they would rise back to more normal levels, analysts said. Economists said the impact of auto plant shutdowns could last for two or three more weeks. The average number of workers filing claims over the past four weeks rose 1,250 to 456,000. The four-week average is considered a better gauge of the state of the labor market than the volatile weekly number. The claims data measure the number of workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and were eligible for unemployment benefits. They reflect layoffs, not hiring. Jobless claims have been a sore point for the recovery, remaining elevated despite four straight quarters of economic growth. Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, said Wednesday on Capitol Hill that the moderate pace of the recovery means that it will take significant time for the economy to recover the 8.5 million jobs lost in the Great Recession. Analysts said the continued claims series is also distorted by expirations to provide meaningful signals about the health of the labor market. The total number of people collecting some type of unemployment benefits in the week ended July 10 was about 8.4 million, down about 309,000 from the prior week. A federal extension of benefits recently expired, and more than 2 million people are estimated to have been cut off from benefits. Congress has picked up the pace of work on a new extension, amid election-year arguments about whether the cost should be offset against the federal deficit. There is no data on how many workers had their claims rejected, he noted

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