Applications for US jobless benefits drop to 287K

AP Photo/Seth PerlmanIn this Sept. 25

AP Photo/Seth PerlmanIn this Sept. 25

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped 8,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 287,000, as the total number of beneficiaries dropped to its lowest level in more than eight years.

The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell 4,250 to 294,750, the Labor Department said Thursday. Overall, 2.3 million people are receiving jobless aid. That's the fewest since June 2006, which predates the start of the Great Recession by 18 months.

“The numbers are so low now that it seems just a matter of time before we see a run of big gains” in monthly hiring figures, said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The recent decline suggests that employers are keeping their workers, likely because they expect continued economic growth and may be contemplating more hires.

The steady decline in people applying for benefits began at the end of April, after brutal winter weather temporarily caused a halt to economic growth.

The drop in applications has corresponded with stronger job gains for much of 2014. Americans are also more confident in the economy and thus spending more. Adjusted for inflation, consumer spending increased in August at the fastest pace in six months.

Employers added 142,000 jobs in August, according to the Labor Department, down from an average of 212,000 in the preceding 12 months. It was the end of a six-month streak of monthly job gains in excess of 200,000. The unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent from 6.2 percent, but only because some of those out of work gave up looking. The government doesn't count people as unemployed unless they are actively searching.

Based off the four-week average for jobless claims, monthly job growth should be close 250,000, said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at the consultancy MFR.

Economists say the government's September jobs data being released Friday will show a rebound from the August figures. Their consensus forecast is that employers added 215,000 jobs last month.

In a separate report released Wednesday, payroll processer ADP said Wednesday that private employers added 213,000 jobs in September.

businessBusiness & Real EstateJobless benefitsUnemployment

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Lowell High School is considered an academically elite public school. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Students denounce ‘rampant, unchecked racism’ at Lowell after slurs flood anti-racism lesson

A lesson on anti-racism at Lowell High School on Wednesday was bombarded… Continue reading

Scooter companies have expanded their distribution in neighborhoods such as the Richmond and Sunset districts. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board signs off on changes to scooter permit program

Companies will gete longer permits, but higher stakes

A health care worker receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images/TNS)
City sets ambitious goal to vaccinate residents by June

Limited supply slows distribution of doses as health officials seek to expand access

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden arrive at Biden's inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021, in Washington, DC.  (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)
Joe Biden issues call for ‘unity’ amidst extreme partisan rancor

‘I will be a president for all Americans,’ he says in inauguration speech

MARIETTA, GA - NOVEMBER 15: Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Jon Ossoff (R) and Raphael Warnock (L) of Georgia taps elbows during a rally for supporters on November 15, 2020 in Marietta, Georgia. Both become senators Wednesday.  (Jenny Jarvie/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Vice President Harris swears in senators Padilla, Warnock, Ossoff

New Democratic senators tip balance of power in upper legislative house

Most Read