May 23, 2024

Filings for Jobless Claims Fell by 10,000 Last Week

The Labor Department said on Thursday that the number of people seeking benefits dropped 10,000 to 382,000 in the week that ended on Saturday. That was the third drop in four weeks. The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, declined to 389,500.

The average is just 1,000 above a two-year low that was reached three weeks ago.

Applications near 375,000 are consistent with a sustained increase in hiring. They peaked during the recession at 659,000.

The number of people seeking benefits has fallen for several months. The four-week average has dropped by 28,750, or nearly 7 percent, in the last eight weeks. At the same time, businesses are stepping up hiring.

Still, the number of applications could move higher in the coming weeks. Toyota Motor has said that it may temporarily shut down its North American plants this month because of a shortage of parts from Japan, where the earthquake and tsunami have disrupted production. Other auto companies may also suspend production, which could cause temporary layoffs and a spike in applications for unemployment benefits.

In another report, the Federal Reserve said consumers borrowed more money in February to buy new cars but cut back on other purchases on credit.

Borrowing increased by $7.6 billion, or 3.8 percent, in February, the Fed said. It was the fifth consecutive monthly gain.

All of the strength came in the category that includes car loans. That increased 7.7 percent. Borrowing in the category that covers credit cards fell 4.1 percent. That category has risen only once in the more than two years since the 2008 financial crisis peaked.

The gains in total credit pushed borrowing up to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $2.42 trillion in February.

Article source:

Speak Your Mind