Skip to main content

Jobless claims for week of Feb. 16
For the week ending Feb. 16, applications of initial claims for unemployment benefits bounced back up to a seasonally adjusted 362,000, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. That was a rise of 20,000 from the previous week's revised claims of 342,000, the first increase in three weeks. It was also the same count as for the comparable week of 2012.

Most analysts prefer the four-week running average because it flattens volatility of the weekly numbers. That average was 360,750, up 8,000 from the previous week's revised number. Claims have been especially volatile since January, in part because it has been difficult to measure seasonal fluctuations in the data.

The department reported that four states, including California, had to estimate their claims because of the Presidents' Day holiday. Such estimates can mean big revisions in the subsequent week.

Companies are maintaining their staffing levels even amid concern that rising gasoline prices and a January tax increase will damp consumer spending. Looming cuts in government spending also threaten to slow growth, a sign that hiring may be limited in coming months.

“Businesses just seem to be sitting tight with regard to layoffs, which is reason for optimism,” Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said before the report. “If we get through these hurdles over the next couple months the job market should begin to improve more noticeably,” said Sweet, who was the best forecaster of jobless claims over the past two years ended last week, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In all programs, federal and state, the total number of people claiming benefits for the week ending Feb. 2 was 5,610,327, down 307,848 from the previous week. For the comparable week of 2012, there were 7,486,681 persons claiming benefits in all programs. Although the lower year-to-year numbers reflect the fact many Americans found jobs, some of the reduction is due to people exhausting their benefits. Currently, fewer than 40 percent of unemployed Americans are receiving jobless benefits, way down over the more than 70 percent who were during the height of the Great Recession.

In a separate report, the department said Thursday that Americans' real average weekly earnings are up 1.3 percent since October 2012. But in the past 12 months consumer prices were up 1.6 percent. Combined, those figures show the average American is losing financial ground even though the inflation rate is low.

Meanwhile, in minutes by the Federal Open Market Committee of its Jan. 29 meeting released Wednesday, there are indications the Federal Reserve Board could reduce its purchase of financial assets in a program designed to speed up hiring in the sluggish labor market. The Fed has previously said it would maintain such purchases until the official unemployment has fallen to 6.5 percent. Last month, it rose slightly to 7.9 percent.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 07:35 AM PST.

Also republished by Invisible People and In Support of Labor and Unions.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site