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Jobless claims post a small increase of 1,000

Jobless claims post a small increase of 1,000

The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits edged up slightly last week but remained at a level indicating the job market is holding up well in spite of the slowing economy.
The Labor Department reported Thursday that 317,000 newly laid off workers filed for jobless benefits last week, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week. That was better than the rise of 8,000 that had been expected.
Even though the economy has slowed significantly this year under the weight of a slumping housing market and weaker consumer spending, employers have been reluctant to lay off workers.
The four-week moving average for claims edged down last week to 315,750, the lowest level in seven weeks.
The U.S. unemployment rate stood at 4.5 percent in November, up only slightly from a five-year low of 4.4 percent in October as employers added 132,000 workers to their payrolls.
There were pockets of weakness, reflecting the problems being faced in housing and manufacturing, where automakers are struggling with sluggish sales. Construction companies cut 29,000 jobs, the most in three years, and manufacturing shed jobs for a fifth straight month.
The overall economy slowed to a growth rate of just 2 percent in the July-September quarter and many analysts believe activity will remain sluggish in the final three months of the year. The slowdown was led by weakness in housing, which had been one of the economy's standout performers.
For the week ending Dec. 16, jobless claims had risen by 10,000 to a total of 316,000, after adjusting for seasonal variations. A total of 39 states and territories had reported declines in jobless claims while 14 states and territories had increases.
The biggest increases were in Kentucky, up 9,002 because of higher layoffs in the auto and rubber and plastic industries. California reported an increase of 6,012 and Tennessee had an increase of 2,342.
The biggest declines in claims for the week of Dec. 16 occurred in Illinois, down 7,870; Ohio, down 4,180, and Indiana, down 4,146.
The state data, which is not adjusted for seasonal variations, lags by a week from the national jobless claims numbers.


Updated : 2020-12-02 12:21 GMT+08:00