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October 3, 2019

Applications for US jobless benefits fall to 3month low

Applications for US jobless benefits fall to 3-month low by Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press Posted Feb 18, 2016 6:33 am MDT Last Updated Feb 18, 2016 at 9:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – The number of people seeking unemployment aid fell last week to the lowest level since November, evidence that stock market turmoil and slow growth overseas haven’t caused U.S. businesses to cut jobs.THE NUMBERS: Weekly applications for jobless benefits fell 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 262,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped 8,000 to 273,250. The overall number of people receiving aid increased, to 2.26 million, from 2.25 million the previous week.THE TAKEAWAY: Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the low reading suggests that employers are confident enough in future growth to hold onto their workers, and possibly hire more.A rise in applications last month fueled concerns about greater layoffs. Yet those job cuts likely occurred among temporary employees hired over the winter holidays, and have now faded.BIG PICTURE: Other recent reports have shown that consumer spending and manufacturing grew last month, adding to evidence that the economy is still growing despite recession worries on Wall Street.Americans are purchasing big-ticket items like cars and electronics. That indicates that the roughly 9 per cent drop in the stock market last month hasn’t caused Americans to curtail their spending.Hiring has been solid despite the wild swings in the market. Employers added 151,000 jobs last month, a sharp drop from the average gains in the previous three months. Still, the gains were enough to lower the unemployment rate to 4.9 per cent, an eight-year low.Greater hiring also appears to finally be pushing up average hourly wages a bit, which grew 2.5 per cent in January from a year earlier. That is better than the roughly 2 per cent pace that has occurred for most of the 6 1/2 year recovery. FILE – In this June 23, 2014, file photo, a recruiter, at left, takes the resume of an applicant during a job fair, in Philadelphia. On Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, the Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits the week before. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) read more