Weekly U.S. jobless aid applications drop - New York News

Weekly U.S. jobless aid applications drop

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply for a fourth straight week, a sign that the job market may be improving.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell 29,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 343,000, the lowest in two months. It is the second-lowest total this year.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the drop indicates that companies are cutting fewer jobs. But employers also need to step up hiring to rapidly push down the unemployment rate.

Applications spiked five weeks ago because of Superstorm Sandy. The storm's impact has now faded. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell 27,000 to 381,500. Before the storm, applications had fluctuated between 360,000 and 390,000 this year.

The storm had little effect on overall hiring in November. Employers added 146,000 jobs last month, the government said last week. That's about the same as the average monthly gain of 150,000 in the past year.

The unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent -- a four-year low -- from 7.9 percent in October. But the decline occurred mostly because more people without jobs gave up looking for work. The government counts people without jobs as unemployed only if they're actively seeking one.

The department also said Tuesday that employers posted the most open jobs in four months in October. That suggests that hiring could pick up a bit in the coming months.

But some companies may postpone hiring this month because of concerns over the "fiscal cliff," the package of tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect next year. If all the changes in the cliff take effect for a full year, economists forecast it would push the economy into recession.

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are negotiating a potential deficit-reduction deal that would avert the cliff. The goal is to complete an agreement by the end of the year, though talks could continue into January.

Most economists say that if the tax increases and spending cuts are in effect only temporarily while a budget agreement is in sight, the damage to the economy would be minor.

  • Your MoneyMore>>

  • Home Depot probes possible credit card data breach

    Home Depot probes possible credit card data breach

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:29 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:29:43 GMT
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a credit card data breach.  The Atlanta-based home improvement retailer told The Associated Press Tuesday that it is looking into "unusual activity" and working with both banks and law enforcement.
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a credit card data breach.  The Atlanta-based home improvement retailer told The Associated Press Tuesday that it is looking into "unusual activity" and working with both banks and law enforcement.
  • Some fear auto industry returning to bad habits

    Some fear auto industry returning to bad habits

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 3:29 PM EDT2014-09-02 19:29:56 GMT
    Big discounts. Six- or seven-year loans, in some cases to buyers who would have been turned down in the past.  As the auto industry strives to sustain its post-recession comeback, car companies are resorting to tactics that some experts warn will lead to trouble down the road.
    Big discounts. Six- or seven-year loans, in some cases to buyers who would have been turned down in the past.  As the auto industry strives to sustain its post-recession comeback, car companies are resorting to tactics that some experts warn will lead to trouble down the road.
  • Business is good at Coney Island

    Business is good at Coney Island

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:22 PM EDT2014-08-30 02:22:32 GMT
    From the brand-new Thunderbolt roller coaster to the world-famous boardwalk, tourists and business owners alike say Coney Island had a great ride of its own this summer. Toms Coney Island's general manager Vasilios Tourlokas says the mild summer impacted his boardwalk business in the best way possible: a 10 to 15 percent increase.
    From the brand-new Thunderbolt roller coaster to the world-famous boardwalk, tourists and business owners alike say Coney Island had a great ride of its own this summer. Toms Coney Island's general manager Vasilios Tourlokas says the mild summer impacted his boardwalk business in the best way possible: a 10 to 15 percent increase.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Subway bedbug infestations on the rise

    Subway bedbug infestations on the rise

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:32 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:32:13 GMT
    It appears the subway bedbug problem we've been reporting is getting worse. Commuters already have to contend with sweltering platforms, scurrying rats and packed train cars, and now there's another transit woe: fear of bedbugs.
    It appears the subway bedbug problem we've been reporting is getting worse. Commuters already have to contend with sweltering platforms, scurrying rats and packed train cars, and now there's another transit woe: fear of bedbugs.
  • Crash in Lincoln Tunnel causes major delays

    Crash in Lincoln Tunnel causes major delays

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 3:06 PM EDT2014-09-02 19:06:51 GMT
    One of the tubes of the Lincoln Tunnel was closed for nearly four hours after a chain-reaction accident involving a New York-bound jitney bus and two other vehicles. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Steve Coleman says three people were reported injured in the accident in the center tube at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
    One of the tubes of the Lincoln Tunnel was closed for nearly four hours after a chain-reaction accident involving a New York-bound jitney bus and two other vehicles. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Steve Coleman says three people were reported injured in the accident in the center tube at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

  • $1M Powerball ticket sold in NJ set to expire

    $1M Powerball ticket sold in NJ set to expire

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:23 PM EDT2014-09-02 18:23:45 GMT
    State lottery officials say a Powerball ticket worth $1 million that was sold at a northern New Jersey convenience store last year will soon expire.
    State lottery officials say a Powerball ticket worth $1 million that was sold at a northern New Jersey convenience store last year will soon expire.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices