Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Hurricane Isaac blamed for sudden spike in jobless

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 14th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Several states reported an increase in applications for unemployment insurance due to Tropical Storm Isaac last week. A sharp rise in gasoline costs additionally drove up wholesale prices last month, the highest in more than three years.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Labor Department reported that initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 382,000, the highest in two months. The previous week's figure was revised up to show 2,000 more applications than previously reported.

Tropical Storm Isaac, that drenched parts of the country, accounted for about 9,000 of the claims filed last week.

Isaac or not, the report suggested little improvement in the labor market after a sharp slowdown last month. The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, climbed 3,250 to 375,000, the highest since the middle of July.

Employers added 96,000 jobs last month, which was a decrease from July's 141,000 count. While the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent last month from 8.3 percent, it was largely because many people have given their job searches.

The Federal Reserve is set to announce a third round of bond purchases at the end of a two-day policy meeting later this week.

Most worrisome is the fact that the unemployment rate has been stuck above 8 percent for more than three years, the first time this has happened since the Great Depression.

People still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid fell 49,000 to 3.28 million in the week ended September 1, the claims report showed.

Food prices rose 0.9 percent, driven up by steep increases in the cost of eggs and dairy products.

The good news: with the exception of the highly erratic food and gas categories, core wholesale prices rose only 0.2 percent, below July's increase.

In the past 12 months, wholesale prices have increased 2 percent, a mild gain and far below the recent peak of 7.1 percent in July 2011.

.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)