July 19, 2013

Unemployment Benefits Apps Rise but Remain Consistent with Moderate Job Growth

intersecting green and red graph linesThe U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that individuals applying for unemployment benefits rose by 18,000 during the week ending June 15, reaching an adjusted 354,000. However, the level remains consistent with moderate job growth. The four-week average increased by 2,500 to 348,250.

As a proxy for layoffs, applications have fallen by 6 percent since January, suggesting a decline in job cuts. Hiring also continues to be steady despite recent tax hikes and federal spending cuts. The housing rebound and rising customer spending are also helping the economy continue apace, regardless of potentially damaging fiscal policies.

The annual average monthly gain in jobs was nearly met in May as employers added 175,000 jobs as the unemployment rate increased to 7.6 percent as more Americans rejoined the hunt for employment. The Federal Reserve Bank has also stated it may reduce bond purchases at some point this year if the economy continues its gradual resurgence. The Fed also announced that it expects the unemployment rate to fall to between 6.5 percent and 6.8 percent by the end of 2014.

Approximately 4.5 million Americans received unemployment benefits in the week ending June 1; a jump of 18,000 over-the-week. But the number of recipients has fallen 28 percent from one year ago. This fall is accounted for both by those who have gotten jobs and those who have used up all available benefits. More Americans also quit their jobs in April compared to March suggesting rising confidence in the job market.


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Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.