Jobless Claims Jump; Michigan an Exception
The glimmer of hope seen last week, as initial jobless claims dropped 53,000, appears short-lived. First time applications for state unemployment benefits in the week ending April 18 jumped 27,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 640,000, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. The total number of people who remained on the benefits roll in the reported week after collecting at least one week of aid, set yet another new record, gaining 93,000 to 6.14m -- more than double the level a year ago -- showing the on-going struggle the U.S. work force faces in finding jobs in an economy where companies are forced to cut costs time and time again, depleting jobs and potential job openings. The insured unemployment rate for the week ending April 18 -- the proportion of covered workers who are receiving benefits -- rose again, from 4.5% to 4.6%, reaching its highest level since 1983. “There is nothing suggesting at this point that payroll declines are going to abate,” Tom Porcelli, a senior economist at Castlestone Management Ltd. told Bloomberg News. “We could bounce along the bottom here for a while.” Nonetheless, the four week moving average of initial claims, which can smooth any volatility in employment trends, continued to fall, dropping 4,250 to 646,750. The largest increases in initial claims were seen in Florida -- where 9,303 people filed a claim, according to the department's most recent data -- Pennsylvania, California, Wisconsin and New York. The largest decrease in claims was seen in typically hard-hit Michigan -- where claims dropped a whopping 12,566. North Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky and Oregon also experienced significant drops. Write to Kelly Curran at firstname.lastname@example.org.