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Unemployment Benefits Claims on the Rise
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According to Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. and the top forecaster of unemployment claims during the past two years, “The job market isn’t going anywhere quickly.”

The Department of Labor has reported that for the week ending February 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 339,000, which is an increase of 8,000 from the previous week’s unrevised figure of 331,000. The 4-week moving average was 336,750, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 333,250. Bloomberg News reported that the unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 2.3 percent in the week ended February 1.

  
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Weekly initial jobless claims are the actual number of people who have filed for unemployment benefits for the first time. The increase isn’t enough to suggest the job market is worsening. Newsday has reported that the figure may have been pushed up by the cold weather, which can cause construction firms and other businesses to stop working. The harsh weather conditions discouraged shoppers in January and caused a 0.4 percent drop in retail sales.

Unemployment benefits are social welfare payments made by the state or other authorized bodies to unemployed people. Depending on the jurisdiction and the status of the person, those sums may be small, covering only basic needs, or may compensate the lost time proportionally to the previous earned salary. Unemployment benefits are generally given only to those registering as unemployed, and often on conditions ensuring that they seek work and do not currently have a job.

Analysts, according to The Raw Story, had predicted claims to fall. An economist at BNP Paribas, Laura Rosner, stated that “The low level of initial claims continues to suggest gradually improving labor market conditions.”

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Ryan Sweet of Moody’s Analytics reported that the rise “shouldn’t be interpreted as a sign the labor market is deteriorating. Claims are notoriously volatile this time of year and are less useful gauging the underlying health of the job market.”

Image Credit: www.nydailynews.com





 

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