New Unemployment Applications Fell to 382,000 Last Week

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US economy adds 96k jobs, rate falls to 8.1%By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell only slightly last week to a seasonally adjusted 382,000. The level suggests hiring remains weak.

The Labor Department said Thursday that applications declined by 3,000 from the previous week, which was revised up. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose for the fifth straight week to 377,750, the highest level in nearly three months.

Applications were skewed higher two weeks ago by the fallout from Hurricane Isaac. A Labor Department spokesman said there were no special factors last week.

Weekly applications are a measure of the pace of layoffs. When they consistently top 375,000, it typically suggests hiring is too weak to lower the unemployment rate.

Employers added only 96,000 jobs last month, below the 141,000 in July and much lower than the average 226,000 added in the first three months of the year. Recent job gains are barely enough to keep up with the growth of the working age population and aren't enough to rapidly drive down unemployment.

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

A separate monthly report from the Labor Department earlier this month 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 prompted the Federal Reserve to announce several major steps to boost the economy last week. Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed will buy $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities a month until there is "substantial" improvement in the job market.

Bernanke said at a news conference that high unemployment is "a grave concern" that causes "enormous suffering."

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Hi Peg and Matt

Keep in mind, when everyone is, at last, unemployed, trhere wll be NO new apps for enemployment coverage.

September 24 2012 at 6:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
tsimpson2333

The closer we get to Election Day the better the numbers will become---liars use number and numbers make liars.

September 24 2012 at 9:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lebrongod

New Deal 2.0. It involves the largest business tax cut in the history of the U.S. The federal government pays the employer's health care match for all US businesses; provided that for every $2 saved in healthcare costs, $1 must be invested in new jobs. It would be a huge tax break for businesses that provide healthcare and stimulate real jobs. One main reason for outsourcing is healthcare costs to businesses, so this proposal would also de-incentivize outsourcing American jobs. And we could better compete with china and Canada by making business in our country more competitive in the global market. While applying pressure to health insurance companies by having to negotiate with a large client instead of running rough shod over small and medium business. The plan is a win win for both sides. Stimulate the economy , leverage over the health care industry and in the end a better economy will mean more taxes collected. Combining the current budgets of Health Care and Stimulation will also have a positive impact.

This high level overview has been put together by two long time friends. 1 Democrat and 1 Republican who are tired of agreeing to disagree. We wanted to find a compromise that we both agree on.

September 21 2012 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
billine123

This week B of A annouces another 16,000 will lose their jobs and American Airlines announces that they will lay off 4,000+ and possibly as many as 11,000. I just bought a gallon of milk for $3.46 and paid $4.49 for a gallon of diesel. Yep, the economy is surely improving and unemployment is dropping. Our president doesn't know what the deficit was when he took office but he knows what it was during the Bush administration. Then he says its not important in the short term. Yeah, well hopefully he won't be around in the long term to continue the damage that he insists was started in the Bush years.

September 21 2012 at 2:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to billine123's comment
chris1011

Why are you complaining? Isn't this what you guys want, what Boehner and Mitch McConnel set out to do, destroy the president using every trick in the book? Even if he takes America down in the process? So stop yer whining, you got what you wanted!

September 21 2012 at 12:32 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
chris1011

Why are you complaining? Isn't this what you guys want, what Boehner and Mitch McConnel set out to do, de$troy the president using every trick in the book? Even if he takes America down in the process? So stop yer crockodile tears, you got what you wanted!

September 21 2012 at 12:33 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
billine123

This week B of A annouces another 16,000 will lose their jobs and American Airlines announces that they will lay off 4,000+ and possibly as many as 11,000. I just bought a gallon of milk for $3.46 and paid $4.49 for a gallon of diesel. Yep, the economy is surely improving and unemployment is dropping. Our president doesn't know what the deficit was when he took office but he knows what it was during the Bush administration. Then he says its not important in the short term. Yeah, well hopefully he won't be around in the long term to continue the damage that he insists was started in the Bush years.

September 21 2012 at 2:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cpo1514

AT some point there has to be a jobs created report.......never mind... that was in the Bush years... This Clown keeps eliminating jobs every week.

September 20 2012 at 7:18 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
muenft

Perhaps we will have to have a revolution in this country to decide if we are going to be a free country or a redistrubution of wealth /socialists country as wished for by obama in his early speeches. Obama has already thought of this with his civilian defense corps.."as well funded and as well equipted as the regular military"

September 20 2012 at 5:15 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
rcohn95038

Why then doesntr' Bernanke does the right thing, so we will see better numbers?

September 20 2012 at 2:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rich0189

You Repubs crack me up! You cry cry cry about getting government out of peoples lives but you want the government to solve the unemployment crisis! According to economic theory they only thing that will bring down unemployment is DEMAND, not tax cuts! Oh by the way why don't Repubs that about Corp. Welfare? When are we going to stop the 47% of corporations that receive tax subsidies from the government. You know the corporate muchers like the oil companies.

September 20 2012 at 2:16 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to rich0189's comment
zoebark

NO, the unemployment figures rose by 7000 from the expected figure of 375000 to 382000. Nice try to support the Obama reelection efforts.

September 20 2012 at 2:04 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply