More Americans filed for unemployment assistance last week

06 October 2011 14:33  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The number of Americans seeking unemployment compensation rose last week from the week before, the Department of Labor said on Thursday, an increase that, along with other recent data, suggests a worsening US jobs market.

In its weekly report, the department said that for the week ended 1 October, approximately 401,000 Americans filed initial claims for unemployment insurance coverage. That seasonally adjusted figure represents an increase of 6,000 jobless claims from the previous week’s revised number of 395,000.

Economists say that the weekly jobless claims figure should be consistently and well below 400,000 if the economy is to recover sufficiently to reduce the nation's 9.1% unemployment.

The department also said that its moving average for unemployment claims was 414,000 for the four-week period ended 1 October, a decline of 4,000 from the previous four-week revised average of 418,000.

That decline in the four-week moving average is seen as a relatively positive sign. While the average remains well above the 400,000 break-point, at least it was moving down.

However, that downward trend may be of little consolation in light of data issued on Wednesday by the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, indicating that employers let go nearly 116,000 workers in September – making it the worst jobs-cut month in more than two years.

The firm said that September’s job cuts were 126% higher than those in August, a month in which the US saw zero net jobs growth, the first monthly flat-line in employment growth since 1945.

The weekly jobless claims report along with the Challenger data on last month’s high rate of layoffs bode ill for the department’s monthly unemployment report for September, to be released on Friday.

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy


By: Joe Kamalick
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