New jobless claims tumble to 2-year low

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, February 10, 2011 14:39 EDT
google plus icon
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

WASHINGTON – The number of new claims for US unemployment insurance tumbled last week to a two-year low, according to official data Thursday, offering hope for the troubled labor market.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell to a seasonally adjusted 383,000 in the week ending February 5, down nearly nine percent from the prior week.

The department revised upward the previous week’s reading to 419,000, from an initial estimate of 415,000.

The 383,000 figure was the lowest since early July 2008, data showed.

The four-week moving average, a measurement to smooth out week-to-week volatility, also showed a positive trend for jobs: it fell to 415,000 from last week’s 431,500.

The sharp decline in new claims surprised most analysts, who had forecast a drop to 410,000, and lent strength to other recent data on payrolls and job creation that suggest a turnaround in the US job market.

Last week the government reported that the unemployment rate fell to 9.0 percent from 9.4 percent, based both on the trend and on data adjustments.

At the same time, the number for newly created non-farm jobs was very low at 36,000 for the previous week. But that was blamed on harsh winter weather that shut businesses temporarily and prevented some data collection as well.

The severe storms of late January and early February continued to skew the numbers, a Labor Department official said Thursday.

“We are still unwinding a bit of the weather effect,” he told reporters.

Despite signs that the US economic recovery is gaining pace, top government officials have warned that the slow pace of new job creation represents a continuing, crucial weakness.

The US economic recovery has “strengthened in recent months” and now looks self-sustaining, but is still not enough to significantly improve the job market, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told a congressional panel Thursday.

“Until we see a sustained period of stronger job creation, we cannot consider the recovery to be truly established,” he said.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
and to abide by our commenting policy.
  • Anonymous

    The reason new unemployment claims are down is because everyone has either gone past their 99 or because they are now considered discouraged workers. Our skewed labor statistics merely hide a huge underlying SYSTEMIC problem with our CONSUMER economy. Gotta go, I just heard there was a huge sale on some cheap plastic crap made in China!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QMPOO3PZFN7XV2XZKCGSXXR3WM Joe Somebody

    The number of new claims means NOTHING by itself. You have to also look at “jobs created”, which was what, 36,000? SO? 380k lost jobs and we created 36k.. 10 times as many people that could be put to work have lost their jobs, and that’s just INITIAL claims.. It’s the same lie as the “unemployment rate” being listed at 9% now.. Ok, but what about all those that just fell off the back of the roles? .. yup, no longer receiving unemployment, so they aren’t part of that 9%.

    Give it enough time and unemployment will “slide” to 5% while we don’t create any jobs.. why? No one will be laid off (labor force cut to the bone, limbs severed) so no new additions to unemployment, people will slide off the back of their benefits (total rolls drop) and no new jobs would have to be created for that to happen.. Look ma! low unemployment (jobless growth redefined!)!… never mind the 15% of the labor force who now lives in the streets with no benefits and no jobs.

    Until you can tell me there are 300k “first time unemployment applicants” coupled with 500k jobs created, don’t tell me “unemployment is dropping”.

  • Anonymous

    Twisted facts – totally. Every politician has a vested interest in making it look as if unemployment is dropping – the Republicans so that they can say it was their taking power that made it better and Democrates so they can say – it was our policies. Meanwhile there are millions of unemployed, with no more unemployment, no jobs and a future of hopelessness. Congraduations Politicians!!!

  • piltdown

    Fewer people on the unemployment rolls does NOT mean we are doing any better, only that benefits are expiring and people are giving up on the job-hunt.

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    magic government numbers
    government 9/11 fairy tales

    green shoots green shoots