- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Unemployment-aid applications rise to 386,000
WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans sought unemployment aid last week, suggesting hiring remains sluggish.
The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly unemployment benefit applications rose 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000, an increase from an upwardly revised 380,000 the previous week.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose for the third straight week to 382,000. That’s the highest in six weeks.
Weekly applications are a measure of the pace of layoffs. A drop below 375,000 typically suggests that hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate.
Applications fell steadily during the fall and winter but have leveled off since.
At the same time, hiring has slowed, raising concerns about the pace of the recovery. Employers added an average of only 96,000 jobs per month in the past three months. That’s down from an average of 252,000 in the previous three months.
Weaker hiring also pushed up the unemployment rate in May to 8.2 percent, its first rise in nearly a year.
Joseph LaVorgna, an economist at Deutsche Bank, said the increase in applications was “slightly disconcerting” but added that more data would be needed to establish a trend. Still, he forecasts that the economy will gain only 75,000 jobs this month.
Faster job creation is crucial in order to accelerate growth. More jobs mean more income for consumers, which may lead to higher spending. Consumer spending fuels about 70 percent of the economy.
The number of people continuing to receive benefits fell sharply, partly because extended benefit programs are ending in many states.
The total benefit rolls fell to 5.8 million in the week ending May 26, the latest data available. That’s a drop of 146,000 from the previous week.
Many economists blame the slowdown in hiring partly on the unusually warm winter. Companies moved up some hiring in January and February that normally would have occurred in spring. As that trend fades, job gains might recover in the coming months.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week that the warm winter might be a reason for the slowdown in hiring. He also suggested that the burst of job gains earlier this year could have represented a “catch-up in hiring’ by employers who cut too deeply in the recession.
In that case, stronger economic growth would be needed to boost hiring further, Bernanke said.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- House votes for bargain to end budget drama
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuke umbrella
- Echoes of Cold War in Ukraine as Russia battles Western influence
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- North Korean dictator stuns world with uncle's execution
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow