Thursday, April 1, 2010

Initial Unemployment Claims Drop

From Bloomberg:

Fewer Americans filed claims for jobless benefits last week, bringing the average over the past month to the lowest level since 2008, as the economic recovery prompted companies to retain staff.

Initial jobless applications declined by 6,000 to 439,000 in the week ended March 27, in line with the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The number of people receiving unemployment insurance was little changed, while those getting extended benefits rose.

Employers are slowing job cuts, a sign of confidence, as the U.S. emerges from the worst recession since the 1930s. Sustained employment gains are needed to boost consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.

“We are turning a corner in the labor market,” said Julia Coronado, a senior U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York, who had forecast a decline in the weekly jobless claims. “Businesses are gradually starting to have more confidence in the recovery.”


Employers announced fewer job cuts in March than a year earlier, another report showed today. Planned firings fell 55 percent last month to 67,611 from 150,411 a year earlier, according to data collected by the job placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. Announcements increased from February’s three-year low of 42,090.

Let's go to the data:

A few weeks ago, I expressed concern about the initial claims numbers, largely because they seemed to be unable to continue to move lower. Over the last several weeks we've seen those numbers drop a bit which eases my mind. However, a continued move lower to the 400,000 range is really needed right now.

The job cut number has been pretty low for awhile now and points to continued improvement in the jobs market.