Last Updated:November 28 @ 12:43 pm

Unemployment rises sharply

By Christopher S. Rugaber

WASHINGTON (AP) - Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped 46,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, the highest in four months. The increase represents a rebound from the previous week's sharp drop. Both swings were largely due to technical factors.

The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, rose slightly to 365,500, the Labor Department said Thursday. That is still a level consistent with modest hiring.

Last week, California reported a large drop in applications, pushing down the overall figure to the lowest since February 2008. This week, it reported a significant increase. The gyrations occurred because it processed applications last week that were delayed from the previous week.

A department spokesman said the seasonally adjusted numbers "are being distorted ... by an issue of timing."

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. When they consistently fall below 375,000, it suggests hiring is healthy enough to lower the unemployment rate.

Several economists simply calculated the average of the two distorted weeks, which is 365,000. That's in line with the recent trend. But it's modestly improved from September, suggesting that hiring could be a bit better this month.

"Though still struggling, the U.S. labor market appears to be making headway, and we should see a modest improvement in October ... payrolls," Sal Guatieri, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in an email to clients.

The number of people receiving benefits fell. Just over 5 million people received unemployment aid in the week ending Sept. 29, the latest data available. That was about 40,000 fewer than the previous week.

Some recent reports suggest the economy is picking up. Retail sales grew in September at a healthy clip. And builders started construction on new homes and apartments last month at the fastest pace in more than four years.

Still, the economy is not growing fast enough to generate much hiring. Growth slowed to a tepid annual rate of 1.3 percent in the April-June quarter, down from 2 percent in the previous quarter. Most economists see growth staying at or below 2 percent in the second half of the year.

The unemployment rate fell in September to 7.8 percent, the lowest level since January 2009, the department said earlier this month. It fell because a government survey of households found a huge increase in the number of people who had jobs. A jump in part-time employment accounted for most of the gain.

Employers, meanwhile, added 114,000 jobs in September, according to a separate survey of businesses. Hiring in July and August was also revised much higher.

As a result, the economy gained an average of 146,000 jobs a month in the July-September quarter. That's more than double the monthly pace in the April-June quarter.

Even so, hiring must be stronger to bring relief to the more than 12 million people who are unemployed. Roughly 100,000 new jobs are needed each month just to keep up with the working-age population.

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9 Comments

  1. billwvComment by billwv
    October 18, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

    Yeah, and if you really believe all of that malarkey I have some prime ‘mountain property’ in Florida that I’ll sell you ‘cheap’.

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      October 18, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

      Looks like Jack Welch former CEO of GE was right when he stated ” Can’t Debate so manipulate numbers” describing last weeks phony unemployment drop to 7.8%,,,released by the Obama government right before the election. Obama lies, the truth in government dies. He is unfit to rule people of self-government who only seek to know the truth so they can be set free to live lives of independence.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      October 18, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

      “Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped 46,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, the highest in four months.”

      This needs to be remembered when the next unemployment numbers come out in a couple of weeks and the Labor Dept. says unemployment dropped to 7.5% or some such ridiculous figure. However, those reports may be delayed until after November 6 since most other bad news has been delayed.

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  2. nickster99Comment by nickster99
    October 18, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

    Was anyone expecting anything else?

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  3. rustypatComment by rustypat
    October 18, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

    “The number of people receiving benefits fell. Just over 5 million people received unemployment aid in the week ending Sept. 29, the latest data available. That was about 40,000 fewer than the previous week.”

    That’s because there’s another 30 million people STILL out of work that are no longer eligible to receive unemployment benefits … and don’t tell me they aren’t trying, that’s BS … its because they aren’t HIRING !
    Check with hiring agencies, headhunters, career advisers, etc. … they’ll tell you very plainly, HIRING IS DOWN, WAY DOWN!

    Ooops, we don’t bother to count them anymore.

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  4. AMVoterComment by AMVoter
    October 18, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

    Last week California was not included in the figures making the percentage drop to 7.8%. Knowing Moonbeam Brown, it was probably done purposely to make Obama look good.

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    • rustypatComment by rustypat
      October 18, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

      Too bad all 50 states couldn’t skip out on reporting for the entire year … we’d be in great shape then. As if the BS numbers put food on the table for those who are out of work … and out of unemployment benefits.

      Obama-Nation is an Abomination.

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  5. vevaComment by veva
    October 18, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

    THIS week all unemployed need to get into the “unemployed line”! THEN we will see the real numbers and they won’t be pretty! But they certainly will be closer to the truth than any have been, all year!

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  6. namrekaComment by namreka
    October 20, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

    THESE MEN AND WOMEN,,,HAVE BEEN LIARS FOR THE LONGEST,,,,ONLY NOW THEY ARE GETTING CAUGHT….WE HAVE PEOPLE IN PLACES TO CALL THEM OUT,,,, AND PERHAPS TO [VOTE] THEM OUT ALSO…

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