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Unemployment in U.S. comes roaring back - in a big way

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 16th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

For the week ending May 11, the number of American applying for unemployment benefits rose sharply, too soon after hitting a five-year low the previous week. According to the Labor Department, first-time unemployment claims jumped 32,000 to 360,000, the highest reported since March. The four-week moving average of initial claims, which smooths volatility, rose 1,250 to 339,250.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A forecast from economists had estimated both weekly claims and the four-week average would rise to about 330,000.

The U.S. job market had otherwise proved resilient in spite of across-the-board federal spending cuts that took effect on March 1. There was also an increase in payroll taxes for working Americans this year. Employers added an average 151,000 jobs in March and April, which was down from 332,000 in February but more than initial estimates.

In addition, U.S. factory output fell sharply last month at the same time retail sales rose unexpectedly.

Initial jobless claims jumped higher than expected last week, breaking a series of weekly declines that had brought it to multi-year lows, the U.S. Labor Department reported this week.

Since jobless claims had fallen to a five-year low last week, so the news came as a crushing disappointment.

Jefferies economist Thomas Simons said that the current report serves as a "reality check" after a series of weekly declines that seemed to be indicating that the labor market was accelerating. "We are still optimistic about the labor market recovery, but perhaps modestly less so than last week," wrote Simons in a report.

The jobless claims number represents the tally of people filing for unemployment insurance for the first time. The continuing claims number, which represents the people who continue to receive unemployment benefits, totaled 3,009,000 for the week ended May 4, which was the most recent figure available. That's a decline of 4,000 from the prior week.

Overall, 11.7 million people remained unemployed in April, with an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent.


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