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>>

  • Startups flock to NY TechDay

    Startups flock to NY TechDay

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:40 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:40:26 GMT
    NY TechDay is where the hottest new startups come every year. More than 400 of them from all different countries come to check out the NYC tech scene. Our first stop at Pier 92 was Rent Hackr, a website with renter generated data to help apartment hunters. Then we checked out Karma, a portable Wi-Fi device that lets you share hot spots with friends.
    NY TechDay is where the hottest new startups come every year. More than 400 of them from all different countries come to check out the NYC tech scene. Our first stop at Pier 92 was Rent Hackr, a website with renter generated data to help apartment hunters. Then we checked out Karma, a portable Wi-Fi device that lets you share hot spots with friends.
  • Studies: office layout can affect your mental and physical health

    Studies: office layout can affect your mental and physical health

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:13 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:13:30 GMT
    Leaving the office, most of us feel pretty exhausted. Studies now suggest that we can blame much of what ails us physically and mentally on the layout of our workspace. American companies standardized the sprawling square room divided by cubicles or nothing to foster team atmosphere. But newer research suggests that the open-plan office actually raises stress while lowering motivation and focus and maybe even reducing life-expectancy.
    Leaving the office, most of us feel pretty exhausted. Studies now suggest that we can blame much of what ails us physically and mentally on the layout of our workspace. American companies standardized the sprawling square room divided by cubicles or nothing to foster team atmosphere. But newer research suggests that the open-plan office actually raises stress while lowering motivation and focus and maybe even reducing life-expectancy.
  • Cough syrup popular in celebrities' 'sizzurp' cocktails pulled from market

    Cough syrup popular in celebrities' 'sizzurp' cocktails pulled from market

    Thursday, April 24 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-04-24 12:00:01 GMT
    A prescription cough syrup that some celebrities like to mix with soda and hard candy is being pulled from the market, pharmaceutical company Actavis confirmed. The cough syrup-soda concoction is often called "sizzurp."
    A prescription cough syrup that some celebrities like to mix with soda and hard candy is being pulled from the market, pharmaceutical company Actavis confirmed. The cough syrup-soda concoction is often called "sizzurp."
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Dead cats found hanging from trees in Yonkers

    Dead cats found hanging from trees in Yonkers

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:03 PM EDT2014-04-25 03:03:00 GMT
    SPCA of Westchester photoSPCA of Westchester photo
    Police are investigating the discovery of at least two dozen dead cats found inside plastic bags hanging from trees in Yonkers Thursday, according to the SPCA of Westchester. Some of the cats were badly decomposed but others appeared more recently killed.
    Police are investigating the discovery of at least two dozen dead cats found inside plastic bags hanging from trees in Yonkers Thursday, according to the SPCA of Westchester. Some of the cats were badly decomposed but others appeared more recently killed.
  • Some residents return after NJ brush fires force evacuations

    Some residents return after NJ brush fires force evacuations

    Thursday, April 24 2014 10:42 PM EDT2014-04-25 02:42:55 GMT
    A school and many homes in Ocean County, N.J., were evacuated on Thursday afternoon because of several brush fires that were fanned by winds. Some residents returned a few hours later. The largest fires burned about 300 acres around Berkeley Township. Firefighters had about 30 percent contained late Thursday night.
    A school and many homes in Ocean County, N.J., were evacuated on Thursday afternoon because of several brush fires that were fanned by winds. Some residents returned a few hours later. The largest fires burned about 300 acres around Berkeley Township. Firefighters had about 30 percent contained late Thursday night.
  • 'Here Lies Love'

    'Here Lies Love'

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:33 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:33:22 GMT
    "Here Lies Love" tells the rise and fall of former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos. History meets disco literally as the story is told in a nightclub.Ruthie Ann Miles plays Marcos. Miles admits a big challenge is bringing to life a woman with views vastly different from her own and giving that to show-goers. "As an actor you believe in yourself," Miles says. "You need to be your own best friend, your own biggest supporter so that the audience can come on a journey with you."
    "Here Lies Love" tells the rise and fall of former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos. History meets disco literally as the story is told in a nightclub.Ruthie Ann Miles plays Marcos. Miles admits a big challenge is bringing to life a woman with views vastly different from her own and giving that to show-goers. "As an actor you believe in yourself," Miles says. "You need to be your own best friend, your own biggest supporter so that the audience can come on a journey with you."
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 | Terms of Service | Ad Choices