Slightly More People Seek Unemployment Benefits

slightly more people seek unemployment benefitsWASHINGTON (AP) - The number of people seeking unemployment benefits ticked up slightly last week after two months of steady declines.

But the increase isn't enough to reverse the downward trend. The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell to its lowest level since April. The decline in the average signals that companies are laying off fewer workers.

Weekly applications for unemployment aid rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 393,000, the Labor Department said Wednesday. It's the second increase in six weeks. The four-week average fell to 394,250. That's the eighth drop in the past nine weeks.

Even so, weekly applications would need to stay below 375,000 consistently to push down the unemployment rate significantly. They haven't been at that level since February.

The pace of hiring over the past few months has been mixed. The economy added only 80,000 jobs in October, the fewest in four months. But the government also said this month that employers added more jobs in August and September than it had initially reported. And the unemployment rate dipped to 9 percent.

The economy is growing but not quickly enough to generate many jobs. The economy expanded at a 2 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter, the government said Tuesday. That was down from an earlier estimate of 2.5 percent.

Growth would need to be more than twice that pace to significantly reduce unemployment, economists say.

The lower estimate was mostly because companies sharply reduced their stockpiles of goods. They probably didn't anticipate that consumer and business spending would remain strong through the summer.

A decline in inventories is not always a bad sign. Economists believe this could lead to better growth in the current quarter, if businesses anticipate more demand and restock their shelves.
Economists predict growth will strengthen to around 3 percent in the October-December quarter. Many raised their estimates after seeing encouraging October reports on retail sales and factory output.

Still, that brighter outlook hinges on whether Europe can prevent its financial crisis from getting worse. If not, Europe could fall into a recession, which could slow U.S. growth next year.

In the first six months of the year, the economy grew at an annual rate of just 0.9 percent. It was the weakest growth since the recession officially ended, which stocked fears over the summer that the economy could be on the verge of another downturn.

The stronger growth in the July-September quarter helped calm those worries. Still, Americans spent more while earning less, and they dipped into their savings to make up the difference. At the same time, businesses invested more in machines and computers, not workers.

Without more jobs and higher pay raises, consumers are unlikely to be able to sustain those gains.

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savemycountry911

Obama has turned unemployment benefits into another welfare program.

November 29 2011 at 9:51 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jdykbpl45

Got hope? Got Change? Nope? Blame Obama. No hope, no change, massive deficits, he is to blame.

November 28 2011 at 2:07 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
hightest2011

The Obama legacy is going strong..... now if he would resign immediately for the good of he country.

November 28 2011 at 9:26 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
jdykbpl45

Figures don't lie but liars figure.

November 27 2011 at 11:39 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
darkcloudcoward4

Our job Czar is Jeff Immelt so look for more of the same hope and change of farming out more manufacturing jobs to China and other foreign countries. Keep up the good work Barry Soetoro, thanks to you the world laughs at us. You are an Abysmal Failure.

November 27 2011 at 10:34 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
darkcloudcoward4

" Uh Shovel ready wasn't as shovel ready as we expected"( insert laughter from Soetoro and Immelt here.)

November 27 2011 at 10:26 AM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
johnskii

Now the unemployment report number news stories are starting to sound like why oil/gasoline prices are so high news stories. SLIGHTLY, MAYBE, IN THE FUTURE, MAY CAUSE, MIGHT HAVE AN IMPACT, SPECTCULATION THAT SOMETHING, MAYBE, IT COULD HAPPEN.......etc.... THE FREE PRESS in America is not free but purchased and paid for. What a joke.....

November 26 2011 at 8:58 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
GARY

The word now when reporting UNEMPLOYMENT is ADJUSTED! What a JOKE, If they REALLY counted people who have NO benefits left , ones who have just STOPPED LOOKING plus people working PART-TIME for MIN. WAGE, the REAL rate is about 19-20%. WASHINGTIN stop LYING!!

November 25 2011 at 5:53 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
stuart100s

Obama is lost. Recessions don't last this long without someone doing something to keep it going. He seems to be deliberately keeping people from getting a job. I think it is so they will have to vote for him in the next election. Is anyone better off than they were 3 years ago?

November 25 2011 at 3:46 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to stuart100s's comment
GARY

Obama is NOT going to be re-elected.

November 25 2011 at 5:50 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to GARY's comment
stuart100s

From your lips to America's ears. I can't see that any of the GOP's candidates are much better. Please don't make this another of the lessor of two evils, choice again.

November 26 2011 at 5:55 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down
mrgunter1969

Get the SOCIALIST MUSLIM FRAUD out of OUR White House if you want improvement!

When will Americans learn the SOCIALIST in the White House wants to destroy America?

November 24 2011 at 9:30 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mrgunter1969's comment
GARY

WE can produce ANYTHING we need in this country. We can also consume it. Why import ANYTHING, plus BUYING from countries who hate us. Stop ALL aid to those who hate us and CHINA and RUSSIA need to be FIRST ON THE LIST! Secure the BORADERS and deport all who are here with NO Legal PAPERS! Then we will be like we were 40-50 years ago with nothing to worry about.. CHUCK NAFTA NOW!! Get us out of the UN.

November 25 2011 at 5:58 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply