US unemployment benefit applications fall to 334K - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

US unemployment benefit applications fall to 334K

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 334,000, a decline that suggests steady job gains will endure.

The less volatile four-week average decreased 7,250 to 345,250, the Labor Department said Thursday. Both figures are roughly 7,000 higher than month-ago levels, which were the lowest in five years.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. Since January, they fallen 6.5 percent, suggesting employers are cutting fewer jobs.

At the same time, hiring has been steady. Employers added 175,000 jobs in May, the department said last week. That nearly matched the monthly average for the previous year. The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6 percent, but for a good reason: More Americans were confident they could find work and began searching for a job.

Separately, the Commerce Department said that retail sales rose 0.6 percent in May from April. The gain shows consumers remain resilient despite higher taxes and could drive faster growth later this year.

Economists were encouraged by both reports.

"The retail sales result is a plus, no question," said Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets. "And the improving trend in jobless claims is supportive for future spending."

About 4.5 million people received unemployment benefits in the week that ended May 25, the latest data available. That's 130,000 fewer than the previous week. The number of people receiving benefits has fallen 29 percent in the past year. Some of those recipients have likely gotten jobs, but many have probably used up all the benefits available to them.

The economy grew at a solid annual rate of 2.4 percent in the first three months of the year. Consumer spending rose at the fastest pace in more than two years.

Economists worry that federal spending cuts and higher Social Security taxes, which started Jan. 1, might be slowing growth in the April-June quarter to an annual rate of 2 percent or less. But the gain in retail spending and declines in unemployment benefit applications show the economy may be stronger than some anticipated.

The department said earlier this week that more Americans quit their jobs in April compared with March. That's a sign of confidence in the job market, since most workers don't quit until they have another job or are sure they can find one. More people quitting jobs also opens up jobs for other workers, or the unemployed, to take.

Overall hiring also picked up in April, the department said, as part of its Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey. Top officials at the Federal Reserve have said they are looking at the level of quits and overall hiring as part of their efforts to gauge the health of the job market.

On Wednesday, a survey of chief executives at the largest U.S. companies showed that they are more optimistic about sales in the next six months and plan to add more workers.

The Business Roundtable said its April-June quarterly survey found 32 percent of its members expect to expand payrolls in the next six months. That's up from 29 percent in the January-March survey. And 78 percent expect their sales to increase. That's up from 72 percent from the previous survey.

Small business owners are also a bit more optimistic, according to a separate survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, released Tuesday.

The Labor Department says the less volatile four-week average decreased 7,250 to 345,250. Both figures are close to the lowest in five years.

Here are the states with the biggest changes in applications. The state data are from the week that ended June 1, one week behind the national data:

States with the biggest decreases:

California: Down 8,796, due to fewer layoffs in the service and manufacturing industries

Florida: Down 3,250, due to fewer layoffs in the agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and retail industries

Pennsylvania: Down 1,923, due to fewer layoffs in the entertainment, hotels and restaurants, and transportation equipment industries

Texas: Down 1,876, no reason given

Missouri: Down 1,704, due to fewer layoffs in manufacturing, health care, and hotels and restaurants

States with the biggest increases:

Tennessee: Up 1,280, due to layoffs in the administrative and support services, transportation and food service industries

New York: Up 1,001, no reason given

AP-WF-06-13-13 1308GMT

  • Your MoneyMore>>

  • Studies: office layout can affect your mental and physical health

    Studies: office layout can affect your mental and physical health

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:13 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:13:30 GMT
    Leaving the office, most of us feel pretty exhausted. Studies now suggest that we can blame much of what ails us physically and mentally on the layout of our workspace. American companies standardized the sprawling square room divided by cubicles or nothing to foster team atmosphere. But newer research suggests that the open-plan office actually raises stress while lowering motivation and focus and maybe even reducing life-expectancy.
    Leaving the office, most of us feel pretty exhausted. Studies now suggest that we can blame much of what ails us physically and mentally on the layout of our workspace. American companies standardized the sprawling square room divided by cubicles or nothing to foster team atmosphere. But newer research suggests that the open-plan office actually raises stress while lowering motivation and focus and maybe even reducing life-expectancy.
  • Cough syrup popular in celebrities' 'sizzurp' cocktails pulled from market

    Cough syrup popular in celebrities' 'sizzurp' cocktails pulled from market

    Thursday, April 24 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-04-24 12:00:01 GMT
    A prescription cough syrup that some celebrities like to mix with soda and hard candy is being pulled from the market, pharmaceutical company Actavis confirmed. The cough syrup-soda concoction is often called "sizzurp."
    A prescription cough syrup that some celebrities like to mix with soda and hard candy is being pulled from the market, pharmaceutical company Actavis confirmed. The cough syrup-soda concoction is often called "sizzurp."
  • Beware what your 'Digital Shadow' says about you

    Beware what your 'Digital Shadow' says about you

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:00 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:00:19 GMT

    To promote a video game called "Watch Dogs," the game's maker has launched a website called Digital Shadow to data-mine your Facebook account. When given permission, digital shadow analyzes all the public information about you and your friends available on the social network to create a file detailing everything from your most-used words to your annual salary to your personality.

    To promote a video game called "Watch Dogs," the game's maker has launched a website called Digital Shadow to data-mine your Facebook account. When given permission, digital shadow analyzes all the public information about you and your friends available on the social network to create a file detailing everything from your most-used words to your annual salary to your personality.


Powered by WorldNow

KRIV FOX 26
4261 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77027

Phone: (713) 479-2801
Fax: (713) 479-2859

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices