US unemployment claims fell last week to 382,000

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WASHINGTON — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell only slightly last week to a seasonally adjusted 382,000. The level suggests hiring remains weak.

WorkForce One staffer Rose Capote-Marcus worked with Pen Osuji as he filled out job applications this month at the unemployment office in Hollywood, Fla.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
WorkForce One staffer Rose Capote-Marcus worked with Pen Osuji as he filled out job applications this month at the unemployment office in Hollywood, Fla.

The Labor Department said Thursday that applications declined by 3,000 from the previous week, which was revised up. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose for the fifth week in a row to 377,750, the highest level in nearly three months.

Applications were skewed higher two weeks ago by the fallout from Hurricane Isaac. But a Labor Department spokesman said there were no special factors last week.

Weekly applications are a proxy for layoffs. When they consistently fall below 375,000, it typically suggests hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.

Employers added only 96,000 jobs last month, below the 141,000 in July and much lower than the average 226,000 added in the first three months of the year. Recent job gains are barely enough to keep up with the growth of the working age population and aren’t enough to rapidly drive down unemployment.

“Businesses clearly remain reluctant to aggressively boost their workforces,” said Jim Baird, the chief investment strategist at Plante Moran Financial Advisors, in a note to clients.

The unemployment rate dropped in August to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent. But that was only because fewer people were looking for work. The government only counts people as unemployed if they are actively looking for work.

The number of people receiving unemployment aid fell sharply earlier this month. About 5.2 million people received benefits the week ending Sept. 1, the most recent data available. That’s a drop of about 220,000 from the previous week.

The economy isn’t growing fast enough to support much more hiring. It grew at a tepid 1.7 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, down from 2 percent in the January-March quarter and 4.1 percent in the final three months of last year.

Growth isn’t likely to get much better for the rest of this year

High unemployment and sluggish growth prompted the Federal Reserve last week to announce several major steps to boost the economy. Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed will buy $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities a month until there is “substantial” improvement in the job market.

Bernanke said high unemployment is “a grave concern” that causes “enormous suffering.”


ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.2 percent in August.

According to a news release, the rate is unchanged from July, when the preliminary 9.3 percent rate was revised to 9.2 percent. The jobless rate was 9.9 percent in August a year ago.

The number of jobs rose by 25,100, or six-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,914,100 in July to 3,939,200 in August.


Initial claims for unemployment for those in the Augusta metro area declined 32 percent in August, according to data from the Georgia Department of Labor.

The labor department said Thursday that 1,620 people filed for jobless benefits for the first time in August, down from 2,400 in July.

In the state’s monthly employment report, released Thursday, the labor department said 1,000 jobs were added to the Augusta economy in August.

There were 400 more jobs in health and education and there were slight increases in construction, state government and professional services.

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dichotomy 09/20/12 - 09:43 am
Translated, this means that

Translated, this means that Obama and the Democrats economic policies, tax policies, regulatory policies, energy policies, and Obamacare continue to cripple economic development. Businesses and corporations will NOT hire and expand as long as the socialists "redistributors" are in power. It's common sense and we all know it.

Gas prices doubled, grocery prices up 25%, unemployment about 8%, new unemployment claims steady at astronomical rates, embassies burning, Obama snubbing Israel but making time to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood....and on and on. You can holler "tax the rich" and "Forward" if you want, but you are just hurting yourselves. Obama is a disaster economically, domestic policy wise, and foreign policy wise. Will Romney do better? He can't do any worse.

Augusta resident
Augusta resident 09/20/12 - 10:05 am

I logged in just to give you a thumbs up.

seenitB4 09/22/12 - 06:44 am

Walmart will hire at least 50,000 this holiday season...

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