Unemployment Claims Rise Again

The number of Americans filing for unemployment rose unexpectedly last week, dampening Wall Street’s ebullience over a five-day run-up in the Dow Jones.

The U.S. Labor Department reported this morning that 484,000 initial claims for benefits were filed last week, a rise of 24,000 from the week ending April 3. It was the second week in a row that filings increased, a sign, economists say, that companies are still reluctant to hire.

The jump surprised forecasters who were predicting a decline to about 430,000 new filings.

“We’re not making rapid progress.” said Neal Soss, chief economist at Credit Suisse Holdings USA Inc. in an interview. However, he suggested the Easter holiday may have played a role in the increase.

That was the explanation from the Labor Department. An unnamed official quoted in various reports, said, “Volatility is always associated with the Easter holiday.”

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“This is more attributable to administrative factors than to possible layoffs. I did not see anything in the states’ numbers that would reflect economic concerns,” he said.

Still, the report showed that more people were receiving benefits. The number for the week ending April 3 rose to 4.64 million, from 4.57 million. The report runs a week behind the initial claims numbers. It doesn’t include the number of individuals receiving extended benefits — the subject of current debate in Congress over funding a continuation of the program. The last count of those whose state-provided benefits have run out and are now receiving federally funded unemployment is 5.97 million.

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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1 Comment on “Unemployment Claims Rise Again

  1. Why are these economists surprised that the numbers are getting worse? What is going to get these numbers to improve? All I see is more pain and there will be larger numbers of unemployed folks when these states with large deficits will have to find some way to balance their budgets. Look how bad California is at present. How many state workers will be out looking for work by June of this year?

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