Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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Jobless Claims Remain Above 400,000 Last Week

The job market remains depressed and the number of people filing first-time claims for jobless benefits was higher than expected last week.

The Labor Department said on Thursday that initial unemployment claims fell by 9,000 to 423,000 for the week ending September 17. The four week moving average - which smooths out weekly volatility and is better for showing the overall trend - rose by 5,000 to 421,000 last week. A reading consistently below 400,000 is needed before we're likely to see any improvement in the job market.

In a separate report released last week by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the government said that unemployment rates were generally unchanged across the states in August. But half experienced unemployment increases.

Twenty-six states and the District of Colombia had an increase in the jobless rate, 12 states reported a decrease in the unemployment rate, and 12 had no change over the month.

From a year ago, thirty-seven states registered unemployment rate decreases, 11 states and the District of Columbia had increases, and 2 states experienced no change. The national jobless rate was unchanged at 9.1 percent but was half a percentage point lower than a year earlier.

In August, non-farm payroll employment fell in 30 states and the District of Columbia and increased in 20 states. The largest over-the-month decrease in employment was a 22,700 drop in New York, followed by a 18,200 decline in Georgia, and a 12,500 loss in the District of Columbia.

The largest increase in employment was a 28,400 jump in Minnesota, followed by a 16,500 gain North Carolina. Arizona added 15,400 and Florida added 9,900 jobs. Over the year, non-farm employment increased in 44 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 6 states. The largest over-the-year percentage increase occurred in North Dakota, up by 5.0 percent and the largest decline was a 1.0 percent drop in Delaware.

By region, the highest jobless rate was in the West at 10.6 percent and the Northeast had the lowest rate at 8.2 percent.

Nevada continues to have the highest unemployment in the nation at 13.4 percent, followed by California at 12.1 percent. The lowest jobless rate continues to be in North Dakota at 3.5 percent, followed by Nebraska at 4.2 percent.

A stagnant economy continues to push downward pressure on the job market. The official unemployment rate of 9.1% has barely budged since the beginning of 2011, though economists say the number is misleading. Including people who have dropped out of the workforce because they’ve given up their futile search for work, and people who have settled for part-time work because they couldn’t find a full-time job, the number of underemployed is closer to 16.1%.

Labor Department
Bureau of Labor Statistics
CNN Money
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Wednesday, 08 February 2023

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