Home > Finance and Economics > Unemployment still going strong

Unemployment still going strong

Lost in all the buzz over today’s healthcare summit, this week’s unemployment numbers were released:

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance unexpectedly increased last week, a sign that the economic recovery will be uneven as the labor market struggles to rebound.

Initial jobless applications rose by 22,000 to 496,000 in the week ended Feb. 20, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The total number of people receiving unemployment insurance gained and those receiving extended benefits decreased.

[...]

A Labor Department spokesman said part of the reason for the increase in weekly claims was the processing of a backlog of applications in mid-Atlantic states and New England, where snowstorms hit earlier this month.

From the DOL press release:

The 4-week moving average was 473,750, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 467,750.

Without a doubt the bad weather will affect these reports, that much isn’t up for debate.  But as an overall trend these numbers aren’t pretty.

This is a crude assumption, but my guess is that until the average claims reach 400,000 there won’t be a significant change in the unemployment rate to the downside.  And maybe even to 350,000 before we see any net positive effect on the economy as a whole.

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