jobless claims unemployment benefits economy
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By Jason Lange

WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell sharply last week to its lowest level since the early days of the 2007-09 recession, suggesting the job market is still healing despite weakness in the broader economy.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 324,000 the Labor Department said on Thursday. The level of claims was the lowest since January 2008, a month after the beginning of a deep recession.

A Labor Department analyst said there was nothing unusual in the data and no states had estimated their claims.

The data runs counter to a growing number of signals that economic activity softened in March and April, a phenomena economists have dubbed the spring swoon because it also happened in the previous two years.

The data has no direct bearing on the Labor Department's monthly employment report for April due on Friday. However, it suggests that while employers have been shy about hiring, they are feeling less pressure to lay workers off.

The four-week moving average for new claims, a less volatile measure of labor market trends, fell 16,000 last week to 342,250.

Economists expect Friday's jobs report will show employers hired 145,000 people last month. Employers added only 88,000 workers to their payrolls in March after a solid 268,000 increase in February.

The recent slowdown in the economy has been blamed on government belt-tightening, although analysts also think a mild winter followed by an unusually cold March may have led some employers and consumers to bring forward hiring and purchases.

Ongoing weakness in the labor market led the U.S. Federal Reserve to keep a monetary stimulus programs at full throttle on Wednesday following a two-day policy review. Policymakers said in a statement they could even step up bond purchases to help the economy more if needed.

Analysts had expected 345,000 new jobless claims last week. The prior week's reading was revised to show 3,000 more applications than previously reported.

Claims during the spring are difficult to adjust for seasonal swings, although a Labor Department analyst said most spring holiday breaks have passed.

Jobless Claims Drop 16,000‚Äč

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How many Democratic states failed this time to report all or any new claims? By the way, that has happen before, California being one of the culprits. And, I believe this pactice is still happening by certain states and not being reported or looked into by our upstanding media.

May 02 2013 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you didn't earn enough to qualify for benefits like most partime or full time workers with less than 5 months work your not going to collect sh... on a shingle.

May 02 2013 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you don't meet the minimum claim requirement believe me your not going to go down to unemployment to file a claim.

May 02 2013 at 11:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you don't meet the earnings minimum for the time period Unemployment claims people tell you that you do not meet the qualifications. People who don't meet the minimum earnings often don't bother to file a claim!

May 02 2013 at 11:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Sheehan

How many jobs can US companies cut or reduce hours on? There can not be too many left..When we get down to 250,000 a month there will be no more to cut. Then we will really see how well our US companies are being run. There will be no more" fat " to cut or trim. Too many temps and employees on reduced hours, gosh why are consumers not going into debt to buy our products and services?

May 02 2013 at 11:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If I read this right, there were almost 20,000 more NEW claims, than old. So how is the jobless rate improving??

May 02 2013 at 10:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How many have exhausted employment benefits and are still looking for jobs?

May 02 2013 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great news for Obama cool-aid drinkers. One job created four every four jobs lost. The average since his reign started..

May 02 2013 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

People have given up because there are no jobs! Unemployment is still over 13%!!!

May 02 2013 at 10:26 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

soon the end commith.....then we get to deal witht he inflation.....

May 02 2013 at 10:11 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply