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Little progress made in U.S. economy and job market

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 24th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

U.S. citizens filing applications for unemployment benefits climbed to a one-month high last week, proving that there has been little progress made in the labor market. Labor Department figures showed today that claims rose by 4,000 for a second week to reach 372,000 in the period ended August 18. The four-week moving average increased to 368,000.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Companies may be keeping payrolls tight after slashing head counts during the recession. The European debt crisis and the slowdown in Asia remain troubling to investor and business confidence.

"It's still very sluggish, and growth itself is implying we should not see any acceleration in hiring at this point," Yelena Shulyatyeva, a U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York says.

Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 355,000 to 373,000. The Labor Department revised the previous week's figure up to 368,000 from an initially reported 366,000.

The four-week moving average was down from 376,000 in the July survey week, which was pushed up by the timing of the annual auto factory shutdowns.

Earlier this month, employers added 163,000 workers, which was the biggest gain since February. The figures also showed the jobless rate climbed to a five-month high of 8.3 percent.

Unemployment has been above 8 percent since February 2009, which is the longest stretch in post-World War II America. The most recent report showed the number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits climbed by 4,000 in the week ended Aug. 11 to 3.32 million.

Those who have used up their traditional unemployment benefits and are now collecting emergency and extended payments decreased by about 48,300 to 2.33 million in the week ended Aug. 4.

The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 2.6 percent.

Thirty states and territories reported a decline in claims, while 22 reported an increase.

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