Jobless Claims Up Sharply as Bad Weather Forces Layoffs

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The number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose sharply last week, but the figures were largely distorted by rare snowstorms that swept through the Southeast.

Applications surged last week by a seasonally adjusted 51,000 to 454,000, the highest level since late October, the Labor Department said Thursday.

A government analyst said that a major reason for the spike was the harsh weather in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. That forced many companies to shut down temporarily and also prevented many people from applying for benefits in the previous week.

When state offices, which had closed, reopened and people were able to file applications that pushed the number of requests up sharply, the analyst said.

The four southern states reported a large increases in the number of requests for unemployment benefits. Trucking companies, delivery firms, construction companies and others were affected.

Applications had been declining steadily for several weeks. Requests for unemployment benefits fell sharply in the previous week to 403,000.

Many economists consider data in January less reliable because of seasonal fluctuations.

Applications below 425,000 tend to signal modest job growth. But they would need to dip consistently to 375,000 or below to indicate a significant decline in the unemployment rate.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, also rose last week by 15,750 to 428,750.

The average had hit a two-year low of 411,250 on Jan. 1. That had suggested companies - operating with lean work forces - may need to add more workers as the economy gains momentum.

Even with last week's increase, economists are optimistic that layoffs will slow and that hiring will pick up this year.

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23 Comments

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scottee

what???? only smaller government, fewer taxes and free markets will create jobs.

January 28 2011 at 7:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David

Now they are blaming layoffs on the weather, whats next they going to blame it on high tides?

January 27 2011 at 3:23 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
Donna & Tony

First of all that is a lie that they are trying to pass off again. In order to receive unemployment benefits you have to be out of work 2 weeks and you start receiving your payments on the 3rd week. If it is only a temporary layoff your employer can deny benefits to be paid. When you file unemployment your employer//former employer gets charged for Your unemployment. So therefore I doubt if these employers are going to allow someone to collect unemployment because of weather. It would be more feasible for them to just pay sick days or use vacation time. So the gov't as usual just needs to fess up that unemployment is on the rise again due to NO JOBS!!!!!!

January 27 2011 at 3:23 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
ltsadv

The folowing is the GOP plan for job creation ....... sorry there will be an indefinite plan until they come up with one. Come on, where is the plan?

January 27 2011 at 1:40 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ltsadv's comment
scottee

the government cannot and should not create jobs...they need to just get out of the way. give us a simple tax and less regulation. but that would take away their power and money...and we wouldn't want to do that! take away their power and money?

January 28 2011 at 7:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rich

Why didn't they tell us last week that the main reason for the drop was because many government offices were closed due to weather? This administration could sell catching the flu is a great way to loose weight!

January 27 2011 at 1:10 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
ltsadv

Ok, where is the GOP/Tea Party Plan for jobs. Just like everything else, from health care to education, they don't have one. Come on you are in charge of the House - show us the plans. Deatils, details, details are what we need.

January 27 2011 at 12:35 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to ltsadv's comment
bill griffis

remember
99ers do not couunt no more they never kown how many realy out of work


fun fact there was 300 sesnoal jobs psoted and there 2000 people out of work completing with the collegeskids and highschoolers in my area whoo got the jobs not many people out of work did

January 27 2011 at 12:27 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
donut999

this number continues to be a waste of time. even if it had gone down rather than up, it is still a waste of time. it has to go down over the long haul because realistically, people are not laid off twice (for the most part) the only number that means anything is TOTAL UNEMPLOYMENT. so if it is 18%, let us know when it moves to 17% or 19%. that is a stat that would mean something. and housing--give us some real numbers there, too. it may take the guv to do it, but someone should get a count on all the homes sitting on lenders balance sheets that are not on the market. the banks are letting a few short sales go if they have situations like $110,000 owed, can market for say $95,000. the ugly ones
ala $300,000 owed, $160,000 market value just sit. everyday the debt ratio widens
due to all the distressed property that is moving. every time a distressed home sells, it drags down everything else on the market/neighborhood because the appraisers have had to get righteous and their number one comp is recent sales. until housing improves, we remain in the dumper. it sure would be nice to know the true scope of the problem.

January 27 2011 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pacillivil1

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 3 MILLION JOBS PELOSI SAID THE PREZ CREATED OVER THE PAST 2 YEARS (EA) . SHE IS A LIAR THE PRESIDENT IS A LIAR AND THE MEDIA IS A LIAR. COME ON PEOPLE DO YOU GET IT YET

January 27 2011 at 11:15 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pacillivil1's comment
bill griffis

3 million ggot hire 6 millin lost there jobs

January 27 2011 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bohemianacres

Well, well, what have we here? Surprise of surprises? Trouble with this article is it does not give credit to the assumption the storms were "largely" the problem. Where are the percentages or numbers by region, like West, Midwest, etc. which would show the "largely" numbers came from the storm areas. The whole Eastern half of the U.S. had storms, including the upper Midwest. Secondly, stores closing for a few of days does not make a run on the Unemployment Offices, especially in numbers like reported here, which give us new lows. Again, a non-story with an Act of God being the scape-goat.

January 27 2011 at 10:15 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to bohemianacres's comment
Michael

I am glad you posted this artice you are right if storers shut down for a few days you will not run to a unemployment office. If I am correct you need to be out of work for one week to even file for unemployment

January 27 2011 at 11:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
bill griffis

so may people do not know how unemployment work

January 27 2011 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply