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Jobless claims fall for second straight week

Jobless claims fall for second straight week

The number of newly laid-off U.S. workers seeking unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, the second straight drop from a six-year high, according to government data released Thursday.
The Labor Department reported that applications for jobless benefits dropped to 432,000, down by 13,000 from the previous week. It was a bigger improvement than analysts expected.
But claims remain elevated compared with recent years. The four-week average climbed to 445,750, the highest level in almost seven years.
Unemployment claims have increased in the past several weeks, partly reflecting an outreach effort by the Labor Department to notify people of a 13-week benefit extension approved by Congress in June. The action has turned up some people eligible to file new claims, according to the department.
That effort _ coupled with businesses cutting jobs due to higher energy costs, tighter credit markets and a slowing economy _ caused claims to spike to a six-year high of 457,000 for the week of Aug. 2, the largest total since claims surged to 479,000 in March 2002. The increase more than six years ago occurred the last time Congress extended benefits to deal with the impact of soaring layoffs due to a weak economy.
The number of people continuing to receive benefits last week also dropped slightly to 3.36 million, but the four-week average rose to 3.33 million, its highest level in almost five years.
That number doesn't include the government's extended benefits program. The Labor Department estimated an additional 1.29 million unemployed workers are getting benefits under that program.
Several companies announced job cuts recently, including newspaper publisher Gannett Co. Inc., which said it would lay off 600 workers.
Ford Motor Co. said it would lay off 300 workers at an engine plant, and chip designer Rambus Inc. said it would cut 90 jobs.
Employers cut 51,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department reported earlier this month, pushing the unemployment rate to 5.7 percent.


Updated : 2021-02-25 04:13 GMT+08:00