There was an unexpected drop in the number of American job seekers who filed *initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits for the week ending February 4th, 2012. In another sign of recovery for the job market, new applications for benefits dropped by 15,000 to 358,000; according to data released February 9th by the United States Department of Labor.
The four week moving average of claims, which provides a clearer picture of unemployment claims because it helps to smooth out the volatility of any one particular week, decreased by 11,000 from the previous week’s 377,250. The 366,250 average is at it’s lowest level since April of 2008.
Economists had forecast a rise in new claims to 370,000; therefore the most recent data defies those predictions and indicates the labor market is gathering strength. It is also considered a hopeful sign of another solid increase in job creation for the month of February.
“We are getting better employment growth and are seeing some signs that we are getting some self-sustaining aspects of economic activity,” said Michael Strauss, chief economist at Commonfund in Wilton, Connecticut.
The decline in new applications brought the numbers closer to the 350,000 level economists say would signal sustained strength in the labor market. Initial claims would need to remain at or below that level for most economists to see them as a sign of long term growth in the job market. Initial claims remained below that level for some time before rising sharply in 2008 as economic difficulties increased.
Unfortunately, despite the signs of a brightening outlook for the job market, approximately 23.9 million Americans are either out of work or underemployed. There are no jobs available for nearly seventy five percent of unemployed workers in the United States.
The number of job seekers who filed **continued claims for unemployment insurance benefits under regular state programs rose for the week ending January 28th, the latest week for which data is available. A total of 7.66 million Americans were claiming benefits under all programs for the week ending January 21st.
* Initial claims measure the number of people filing applications for unemployment insurance benefits; some claims are later denied.
** Continuing claims include those American job seekers filing for the second week of claims or longer.
Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report for Week Ending February 4, 2012
Initial Jobless Claims Chart
Tier-specific EUC data
Information on the EB program
State Detail Prior Week
UI Claims Series 1967 to Current
Unemployment Rates for States
Career One Stop State Locator
The Arizona Unemployment Insurance Program
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (Special programs in locations declared by the President as disaster areas.)
Legislative and AZUI Contact Information For Arizona Residents and UI Recipients
Veterans Services in Arizona
Disabled Workers Services in Arizona
Mature Workers Services in Arizona
Youth Services in Arizona
Job Seekers Assistance in Arizona
Who Is Counted as Unemployed?
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