Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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New Jobless Claims Dip Slightly

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 1,000 to 434,000 for the week ending January 2, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. The four-week moving average, which smooths out weekly volatility, was 450,250, a decrease of 10,250 from the previous week's average of 460,500.

Seasonally adjusted, the insured unemployment rate was 3.6% for the week ending December 26, down .2% from the previous week's figure of 3.8%. Unadjusted, the advance national insured unemployment rate for the same week was 4.2%, up .3% from the previous week. A year ago, the unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 4%.

The advance number for insured unemployment during the week ending December 26 was 4,802,000, a decrease of 179,000 from the preceding week's unrevised level of 4,981,000. The 4-week moving average was 5,005,750, a decrease of 95,250 from the preceding week's unrevised average of 5,101,000.

The fiscal year-to-date average for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment for all programs is 5.565 million.

Pennsylvania had the largest increase in initial claims due to layoffs in manufacturing, service, food and transportation with 9,653 more claims than in the previous week. Kentucky had an increase of 6,069 due to layoffs in manufacturing. Indiana had 5,537 more claims than in the previous week due to layoffs in service, manufacturing, transportation, and automobiles.

California had the largest decrease of 23,160 due to a shorter workweek, as well as fewer layoffs in the construction and service industries. Texas had a 7,956 decrease due to fewer layoffs in the trade, service, and manufacturing industries. Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina also had decreases of over 1,000.

Alaska had the highest insured unemployment rate at 6.7%, followed by Oregon at 5.9%, Puerto Rico at 5.8%, and Nevada at 5.6%. Idaho, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Montana, Washington, and Michigan also had insured unemployment rates at or above 5%.

While the national insured unemployment rate is 4.2%, the nation's unemployment rate is actually 10%. And the unfortunate fact is that 10% isn't truly the percentage of unemployed and underemployed workers in the U.S.

The Labor Department doesn't count the discouraged unemployed workers who have simply given up on looking for work because they don't believe there are jobs out there for them.

In a separate statement released on Friday U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said that in December the economy lost 85,000 jobs. "Today's numbers underscore that we still have work to do before we can be sure that all Americans have access to good jobs. We are working aggressively to reverse these conditions for American workers and their families," she said.

"Despite the bumpy road to recovery, we have made progress. One year ago, our economy was losing close to 700,000 jobs a month. We met this challenge head on through the Recovery Act — putting a plan in place designed to create jobs and drive economic growth through a combination of tax relief for individuals and businesses, aid to hard-hit families and state and local governments, and funding for science, technology and infrastructure projects across the country," Solis said. "Thanks to this program, we have saved or created more than 1 million jobs."

Solis said, "We will continue to work aggressively to ensure that we provide workers with the assistance they need to help them find good jobs, and I am confident that our initiatives will help turn our economy around, creating pathways to success for all of Americans."

U.S. Department of Labor
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Sunday, 01 August 2021

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