Unemployment Claims Post Largest Increase in Nearly Two Years

April 25, 2019 by Dan McCue

The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits saw their largest increase in 19 months last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits jumped 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 230,000 for the week ended April 20, the department said.

“Jobless claims continue to point to tight labor market conditions,” said Bloomberg economist Eliza Winger in an analyst’s note. “The number of workers filing new applications for unemployment increased more than expected, but it is not unusual to see some volatility in the week before or after the Easter holiday. Jobless claims will likely revert back to the pre-holiday trend.”

The instability around Easter and Passover is often attributed to school closures around those holidays. The same goes for spring break. In some states school employees are eligible for unemployment benefits if they aren’t being paid during the week.

The increase was the largest since early September 2017, and it seemed to surprise economists who had predicted claims rising to only 200,000 last week.

Only a week before claims had dropped to 193,000, which was the lowest level since September 1969.

The 4-week moving average was 206,000, an increase of 4,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 201,250 to 201,500.

Despite the volatility, the labor market remains strong. Job gains averaged 180,000 in the first quarter, well above the roughly 100,000 jobs per month needed to keep up with growth in the working-age population.

The unemployment rate is currently 3.8 percent, close to the 3.7 percent Federal Reserve officials project it will be by the end of the year.

Economy

Black Friday Offers Beacon of Hope to Struggling Stores
Economy
Black Friday Offers Beacon of Hope to Struggling Stores

NEW YORK (AP) — After months of slumping sales and businesses toppling into bankruptcy, Black Friday is offering a small beacon of hope. In normal times, Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, drawing millions of shoppers eager to get started on their... Read More

Rep. Neal Eyes Massive Coronavirus Relief, Climate and Infrastructure Package
Congress
Rep. Neal Eyes Massive Coronavirus Relief, Climate and Infrastructure Package

WASHINGTON — House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal's attitude toward legislating under a Democratic-led White House might aptly be described as "never let a crisis go to waste." The Massachusetts Democrat wants to take a page from his party's 2009 playbook, when the Obama administration took office amid the wreckage of... Read More

Mnuchin to Put $455 Billion in Funds Out of Yellen's Easy Reach
Economy
Mnuchin to Put $455 Billion in Funds Out of Yellen's Easy Reach

WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will put $455 billion in unspent Cares Act funding into an account that his presumed successor, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, will need authorization from Congress to use. Mnuchin plans to place the money into the agency's General Fund, a Treasury Department spokesperson said Tuesday. That fund... Read More

Stabenow Says Smaller Coronavirus Relief Bill Better Than Nothing
Economy
Stabenow Says Smaller Coronavirus Relief Bill Better Than Nothing

WASHINGTON — A top Senate Democrat said Tuesday that she's engaged in bipartisan discussions on COVID-19 aid and urged quick action even if that means "a short-term package for the next few months." "We need to act," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D- Mich., the fourth-ranking Democrat in that chamber... Read More

Thanksgiving Food Prices Sink as Americans Scale Down Their Feasts
Economy
Thanksgiving Food Prices Sink as Americans Scale Down Their Feasts

Turkey prices are sinking as the pandemic may keep some American families from hosting big groups this Thanksgiving. The price of ingredients in a traditional turkey dinner for 10 people is down to the lowest level in a decade, driven largely by grocers discounting the meal's centerpiece to... Read More

Wind Energy Labor Pact Viewed as Sign of What Biden Economy Will Look Like
Economy
Wind Energy Labor Pact Viewed as Sign of What Biden Economy Will Look Like
November 20, 2020
by Dan McCue

Ørsted, the Danish renewable energy group, and the North America's Building Trades Unions have entered into a pact to train an offshore wind construction workforce as the firm eyes construction of a series of wind farm projects up and down the East Coast. The deal comes... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top