Applications for Jobless Benefits Drop to a 49-year Low, Inflation Remains Tame

April 11, 2019 by Dan McCue
Líderes de la economía floridana pronostican disminución en la creación de empleos para el 2019 en cumbre en Orlando. (Martin E. Comas/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

The number of people seeking unemployment benefits in the United States fell last week to its lowest level since December 1969, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The last time unemployment benefits claims were this low, Jay-Z was a newborn in a New York City hospital, the Boeing 747 had just made its first commercial passenger flight, and the Rolling Stones were about to headline the ill-fated outdoor concert at the Altamont Speedway in California, later blamed for ending the Woodstock-era of good feelings.

According to the Labor Department, weekly applications for unemployment aid fell 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 202,000.

Unemployment applications are considered a proxy for layoffs, so the drop to such a low number indicates that companies are cutting very few workers.

A report Wednesday from payroll processor ADP found that businesses added just 129,000 jobs in March, down from 197,000 the previous month. The federal government’s count for March is scheduled to be released Friday.

“March posted the slowest employment increase in 18 months,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Although some service sectors showed continued strength, we saw weakness in the goods producing sector.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, was equally concerned.

“The job market is weakening, with employment gains slowing significantly across most industries and company sizes,” Zandi said. “Businesses are hiring cautiously as the economy is struggling with fading fiscal stimulus, the trade uncertainty, and the lagged impact of Fed tightening. If employment growth weakens much further, unemployment will begin to rise.”

In other economic news, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday that producer prices increased by the most in five months in March, but underlying wholesale inflation remains low.

The department said its producer price index rose 0.6 percent last month, lifted primarily by a 0.4 percent surge in the cost of gasoline. That was the largest increase since last October.

It also followed a much more modest 0.1 percent gain in February.

In the 12 months from March 2018 to March 2019, the producer price index  rose 2.2 percent after advancing 1.9 percent in February.

A key gauge of underlying producer price pressures that excludes food, energy and trade services was unchanged in March after ticking up 0.1 percent in February.

The so-called core producer price index increased 2.0 percent in the 12 months through March.

That was the smallest annual increase since August 2017 and followed a 2.3 percent rise in February.

Growth has slowed since it topped 4 percent at an annual rate in the April-June quarter of last year, decelerating to just 2.2 percent in the final three months of 2018.

The Federal Reserve has said once all the numbers for the quarter are crunched, it expects to find the U.S. economy expanded at a rate of 2.1 percent in the first three months of this year.

In The News

Health

Voting

Economy

US Economy Up 6.4% in Q1 With Stronger Future Gains Expected
Economy
US Economy Up 6.4% in Q1 With Stronger Future Gains Expected

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at a solid 6.4% rate in the first three months of this year, setting the stage for what economists are forecasting could be the strongest year for the economy in possibly seven decades. The Commerce Department said Thursday that... Read More

SBA Chief Says Ensuring Equity Critical to Success of COVID Relief Program
Business
SBA Chief Says Ensuring Equity Critical to Success of COVID Relief Program
June 22, 2021
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — While much good came from the COVID relief funds doled out by the Small Business Administration as the pandemic ran its course time has shown that certain businesses -- particularly those owned by women and minorities -- went underserved in the earlier aid rounds.... Read More

Biden Moves to End Long-running Boeing, Airbus Dispute
Business
Biden Moves to End Long-running Boeing, Airbus Dispute
June 15, 2021
by Dan McCue

President Joe Biden on Tuesday moved to end a 17-year dispute with the European Union over how big a government subsidy each can provide to its major aircraft manufacturer. That’s Boeing in the case of the U.S.; Airbus in the case of the European Union. The... Read More

Kansas Receives Gold Shovel Award
Economy
Kansas Receives Gold Shovel Award
June 11, 2021
by Brock Blasdell

The state of Kansas has been awarded Area Development Magazine’s prestigious Gold Shovel award in recognition of its successful year attracting high-value business investment. Over $6 billion in new business dollars and more than 26 thousand jobs have been created within the state of Kansas since... Read More

Wedding Boom is On in US as Vendors Scramble to Keep Up
Business
Wedding Boom is On in US as Vendors Scramble to Keep Up

NEW YORK (AP) — Couples in the U.S. are racing to the altar in a vaccination-era wedding boom that has venues and other vendors in high demand. With restrictions on large gatherings loosening, wedding planners and others who make the magic happen said they've started pushing... Read More

US Jobs Edging Back to Normalcy as Pandemic Recedes
Employment
US Jobs Edging Back to Normalcy as Pandemic Recedes
June 4, 2021
by Victoria Turner

The U.S. employment situation seems to be edging closer to normalcy with the recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report showing a 1.7% decline in teleworking employees. This indicates more people are returning to the office, but it remains uncertain whether it is fully in-person or a... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top