US jobless aid applications fall to 5-year low - FOX 35 News Orlando

US jobless aid applications fall to 5-year low

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits fell by 4,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, a fresh five-year low. The decline signals fewer layoffs and possibly more hiring.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average, a less volatile figure, dropped 6,250 to 336,750. That the fewest since November 2007, before the recession began.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. Weekly applications have fallen about 9 percent since November and are now at a level consistent with a healthy economy.

The job market has also improved over the past six months. Net job gains have averaged of 208,000 a month from November through April. That's up from only 138,000 a month in the previous six months.

Still, much of the job growth has come from fewer layoffs -- not increased hiring. Layoffs fell in January to the lowest level on records dating back 12 years, though they have risen moderately since then. At the same time, overall hiring remains far below pre-recession levels and unemployment remains high at 7.5 percent.

For hiring to increase enough to rapidly lower the unemployment rate, companies must gain more confidence in the economy. But some have held off adding new workers in recent months, possibly because of concerns about the impact of federal spending cuts and tax increases. And an increase in Social Security taxes could slow consumer spending, which drives nearly two-thirds of economic activity.

The Federal Reserve said last week that the federal government's policy changes are "restraining economic growth."

Still, even modest job gains could provide consumers with more money to offset the impact of the tax increase. Total wages rose 3.6 percent in April compared with a year earlier. That's comfortably ahead of the 1.5 percent inflation rate.

The economy grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent from January through March, a big improvement from the anemic growth of 0.4 percent in the final three months of last year. But most economists expect growth will slow in the current quarter to 2 percent or lower.

  • Your MoneyMore>>

  • Conference call: your bathroom break

    Conference call: your bathroom break

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:47 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:47:23 GMT
    We asked several people what they do when they are on a conference call. Most of them answered: "The bathroom." Yes, according to a survey conducted by InterCall, 47 percent of 500 people admitted to taking a conference call from the bathroom.
    We asked several people what they do when they are on a conference call. Most of them answered: "The bathroom." Yes, according to a survey conducted by InterCall, 47 percent of 500 people admitted to taking a conference call from the bathroom.
  • The future of books and bookstores

    The future of books and bookstores

    Thursday, August 21 2014 8:46 PM EDT2014-08-22 00:46:06 GMT
    The advent of dedicated e-readers and other devices that allow us to read electronic books has dramatically changed the publishing industry as well as the book retail industry. As an avid reader, Julee Allen is always buying books. And she prefers to buy them in person at a book store. In this age of Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers, some may call Julee and others who prefer to buy actual books part of a shrinking breed.
    The advent of dedicated e-readers and other devices that allow us to read electronic books has dramatically changed the publishing industry as well as the book retail industry. As an avid reader, Julee Allen is always buying books. And she prefers to buy them in person at a book store. In this age of Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers, some may call Julee and others who prefer to buy actual books part of a shrinking breed.
  • Using your credit card rewards

    Using your credit card rewards

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:56 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:56:50 GMT
    Cashing in your credit card points can be a great way to shop. You've earned them. But analysts say a lot of people don't use these rewards simply because they forget. Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor for thestreet.com, has some tips on how you can make sure to make the most of your rewards.
    Cashing in your credit card points can be a great way to shop. You've earned them. But analysts say a lot of people don't use these rewards simply because they forget. Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor for thestreet.com, has some tips on how you can make sure to make the most of your rewards.
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices