Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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Jobless Claims Rise Again

The Labor Department reported today that the estimated number of recently unemployed workers claiming benefits for the first time increased to 626,000 for the week of January 31, 2009, up by 35,000 from the previous week. Analysts had expected about 583,000 for that week.

It's estimated that there were nearly 4.8 million insured unemployed for the week ending January 24. This number doesn't include the 1.7 million persons claiming Emergency Unemployment Compensation. EUC was signed into law last year to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed for an additional 33 weeks beyond the 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits provided by states.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate for the week ending January 24 remained unchanged from the previous week at 3.6%.

Michigan had the highest insured unemployment rate in the week ending January 17 at 8.9%. Montana, Indiana, Nevada, Alaska, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Idaho also reported high insured unemployment rates ranging from 5.3% - 6.6%.

The largest increase in initial claims for the week ending January 24 was in Wisconsin; the state said that continued layoffs in the construction, manufacturing, trade industries were responsible for 1,355 more jobless claims than the week before. Rhode Island, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Puerto Rico also each had several hundred more new jobless claims for that week.

Twenty-nine states reported a decrease in first-time jobless claims of more than 1,000 for that week, and twelve of those states had initial claim decreases of more than 3,000. Florida had the largest decrease of 14,703. California, Michigan, Georgia, and Ohio each had nearly 10,000 or more fewer initial jobless claims. It appears that while layoffs are still happening, the pace is slowing in a number of states.

You'll probably see a few headlines out there saying that the jobless claims are at a 26-year high, since the U.S. was in a deep recession in October 1982. It may be true by the numbers, but the U.S. now has a much larger workforce than it was back then. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate in October '82 was 5.4% compared to the current 3.6%, as mentioned earlier.

The government is expected to release January's unemployment report tomorrow. Analysts believe the rate will be 7.5%, up from 7.2% in the month before.

U.S. Department of Labor
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Wednesday, 12 June 2024

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