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New Jobless Claims Drop

The number of newly unemployed workers claiming jobless benefits fell last week, according to report released on Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending September 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 545,000, down 12,000 from 557,000 in the week before. The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility, was 563,000, down by 8,750 from the previous week's revised average of 571,750.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending September 5 was 6,230,000 - up 129,000 from the preceding week's revised number 6,101,000. The four-week moving average was 6,180,250, a decrease of 5,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 6,185,750.

States reported that 3,141,485 unemployed workers claimed Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits for the week ending August 29, an increase of 21,781 from the previous week. EUC extends benefits for the long-term unemployed, adding an additional 13 weeks on top of the 26 weeks of benefits provided by individuals states. There were about twice as many claimants receiving EUC at the end of August 2009 as there were a year ago, with 1,525,890 in August 2008.

Puerto Rico had the highest insured unemployment rate in the U.S. at 6.8%, followed by Oregon and Pennsylvania at 5.7%, Nevada at 5.7%, Michigan at 5.2%, and and Connecticut and New Jersey at 5.1%. California, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Rhode Island also had high insured unemployment rates at, or near, 5%.

For the week ending September 5, Washington had the largest increase in initial claims with 2,620; the state suffers continued layoffs in construction, service, public administration, and manufacturing industries. The number of new claims increased in Pennsylvania by 2,573 due to layoffs in the transportation equipment, industrial machinery, primary metals, and service industries.

Massachusetts initial claims increased by 1,565, mostly due to layoffs in the construction industry. New claims increased in North Carolina by 1,332 due to layoffs in the paper, furniture, and computer industries, and Illinois reported that their initial jobless claims increase of 1,218 was due to cuts in construction, trade, and manufacturing industries.

California had the largest decrease in initial claims for that same week, citing fewer layoffs in the trade and service industries, with 2,751 fewer claims than in the previous week.

New York initial claims dropped by 2,479 due to fewer layoffs in the service and transportation industries, and initial claims in Wisconsin dropped by 1,149 due to the slowing off layoffs in the construction, trade, and manufacturing industries. New jobless claims in Texas decreased by 809, and New Jersey initial claims fell by 700 from the week prior.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate in the week ending September 5 was 4.7%, up .1 percentage point from the unrevised rate of 4.6% in the week before.

The overall national unemployment rate of 9.7% is much higher than the insured rate; many Americans are unemployed or under-employed but don't qualify for unemployment benefits. The national unemployment rate is expected by many analysts to reach 10% before the job market begins a recovery.

In response to questions about the economy at the Brookings Institute on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke answered that "from technical perspective, the recession is very likely over at this point." But he added that "it's still going to feel like a very weak economy for some time as many people will still find that their job security and their employment status is not what they wish it was."

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Sunday, 12 July 2020

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