Initial Jobless Aid Applications Jump to 382,000

Weekly US jobless aid applications jump to 382,000By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped to the highest level in two months, although the figures were skewed in part by Hurricane Isaac.

Applications increased by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 382,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's up from 367,000 the previous week. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased for the fourth straight week to 375,000.

Isaac made landfall as Category 1 hurricane on Aug. 28 in southeastern Louisiana and was later downgraded to a tropical storm. It disrupted work in nine states and boosted applications by roughly 9,000, Labor officials said.

Applications for unemployment benefits reflect the pace of layoffs. When applications fall consistently below 375,000, it usually indicates that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.

The figures come after a disappointing jobs report last week. Employers added only 96,000 jobs in August, below July's gain of 141,000 and far below the average 226,000 a month added in the January-March quarter.

The unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent, but only because the number of people working or looking for work fell.

Many economists have noted that while layoffs are falling, overall hiring isn't picking up at the same pace. A separate monthly report from the Labor Department this week showed that layoffs were at the lowest level in July in the 11 years the government has tracked the data.

The economy isn't growing fast enough to support much more hiring. It grew at a tepid 1.7 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, down from 2 percent in the January-March quarter and 4.1 percent in the final three months of last year.

Growth isn't likely to get much better for the rest of this year. Economists expect it to grow at a roughly 2 percent pace. That's typically too weak to create enough jobs to lower the unemployment rate.

High unemployment and sluggish growth has prompted many economists to forecast that the Federal Reserve will announce new steps to boost the economy after its two-day meeting ends Thursday. Those steps could include a third round of Treasury bond purchases. The goal of the purchases would be to lower interest rates and spur more borrowing and spending.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a recent speech that weak hiring is "a grave concern" that causes "enormous suffering."

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Banking Services 101

Understand your bank's services, and how to get the most from them

View Course »

Intro to different retirement accounts

What does it mean to have a 401(k)? IRA?

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

Maybe Obama is waiting till everyone gives up looking for a living wage job...then he can say unemployment is at ZERO>

September 15 2012 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bush's fault, Reagan's fault , Issac's fault. How about tell it like it is OBAMA'S FAULT

September 13 2012 at 3:05 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to j_swizzle's comment

Don't forget it was Clinton's fault too, that was a favorite saying for the Cons during the Bombs away Bush era the Cons are now trying to ERASE... 2001-2008 RIP....LMAO!

September 14 2012 at 11:06 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Think of how well Obama has done handling hurricane Isaac compared to George Bush's handling of Katrina. Thanks to Obama's spending on infrastructure in the New Orleans area, the impact of the storm was greatly diminished. And Obama actually went down there to survey the damage. George Bush ignored New Orleans for several days after Katrina until there was a public outrage over him doing nothing. Then he appointed one of his cronies to handle the situation. After the jerk he put in charge messed everything up, Bush congratulated the guy. "Great job Brownie!"

September 13 2012 at 2:55 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to Tom's comment

Just when you think Oblameo can't think of anyone or anything else to blame for his failures, along comes hurricane Issac. Add another one to the long list.

September 13 2012 at 2:37 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

But, but.... but yesterday they said unemployment was down and the recovery was bad news for Romney.

September 13 2012 at 1:29 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to talari's comment

lmao.. were you reading the HP again? Shame on you!!! the Obama spin machine

September 13 2012 at 4:05 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Isaac actually produced jobs as people needed help cleaning up and re-building.
So blaming job loss on the Hurricane is just trying to make excuses for a continued plunge in jobs available.

September 13 2012 at 12:38 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

As long as Nobama is in office it will just get worse! Got to remember, layoff season is upon us!

September 13 2012 at 11:58 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Just read where stocks are in a hold waiting for the fed reserve moron to speak. Since it is an election year you can be sure it will whatever this moron says will drive the stocks up even though it is just leading to a major fall by late October. Germany will back their bailout but only after telling the world it can't happen twice as they (Germany) does not have anymore bailout money. The true unemployment figures should read 16+% but to make the worthless do no nothing non-working piece of crap look good they doctor the figures for him.
You can continue all day about what is not improving in our country thanks to this sorry president, his chicago mafia czars and a congress that can't even pass a JOBS bill; voted down 99 to ZERO! A dumocratically controlled SENATE who is supposed to prepare and but into law a BUDGET and fails. Voted down 99 - 0 same ZERO figures in the house.
Spineless president who can't sit down with both parties in the same room at the same time (called face-to-face) to work out the differences and get a budget for the good of our country.
Time to clean house on both sides but will never happen I am afraid. Wake up America!! You are looking at 4 more years of this clown who does nothing but vacation/campaign/golf/ while family spends our money vacationing and other crap.

September 13 2012 at 11:30 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Way to go, Obama. All of those golf outings, hobnobbing with movie stars, trolling for campaign dollars at taxpayers' expense and the incessant mudslinging at Romney have apparently paid off-NOT!

Do your job. Sit down and meet with your jobs committee. We pay you to handle these issues-not to play at being President while ignoring the tough jobs.

How this man generates any support whatsoever, mystifies me. Maybe it is the fact that 50% of the population no longer pay taxes, are on the public dole or have literally given up finding a job.

Disgusting effort by our President. Wasn't the prhase during Bush I's reelection "It's the Economy, Stupid"?History repeats itself.

September 13 2012 at 11:27 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Try looking at the U6 unemployment numbers if you want a true picture of how bad things are.The current administration can twist the numbers anyway they want, but we are in SERIOUS trouble and NO ONE can escape what it's going to take to get us on the right track. And it is obvious that the American people are being used as pawns to achieve a philosophy, that is in direct conflict of what made America great. It's time to put a HALT to the TRANFORMATION of AMERICA!!!!!

September 13 2012 at 11:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wheeliefields's comment


September 13 2012 at 11:53 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply