First time jobless claims rise to 465,000

Posted September 23, 2010

— First-time requests for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly to 465,000.

That total is an increase of 12,000, which had been revised upward by 3,000 to 453,000, from last week.

The Labor Department says initial claims for jobless aid rose by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 465,000. Many economists had expected a flat reading or a small drop.

The rise suggests that jobs remain scarce and some companies are still cutting workers amid sluggish economic growth. Initial claims have fallen from a recent spike of more than half-million last month. But they have been stuck above the 450,000 level for most of the year.

The four-week average of claims, a less volatile measure, declined by 3,250 to 463,250. That’s the lowest level since the end of July, but down by only 4,000 since January.

New requests for jobless benefits had fallen by 54,000, or about 11 percent, in the past month. That drop followed a spike in claims to 504,000 in the week ending Aug. 14, which sparked fears of a renewed economic downturn.

The past month’s decline has quieted those fears. But it’s not clear whether the drop means the unemployment rate will also fall.

Economists at JPMorgan Chase forecast that initial unemployment claims fell by 5,000 to 445,000 last week, which would be the fourth drop in five weeks. A survey of economists by Thomson Reuters indicated expectations are that claims were unchanged at 450,000.

Thursday’s report covers the same week that the Labor Department surveys employers about their payrolls. Data from those surveys is used to compile the monthly jobs report and calculate whether the economy has gained or lost jobs.

Economists look at the change in unemployment claims figures from one month’s “survey week” to the next to try to get an early read on what the jobs report might say. If claims have fallen from one month to the next, that indicates layoffs have dropped and the unemployment rate might fall.

Claims have already fallen steeply from the Aug. 14 survey week. But economists note that last month’s figures could have been inflated by the thousands of temporary census workers whose jobs have ended in recent months. And the August data may have also been distorted by a shift in the timing of the auto industry’s summer plant closings, economists at Moody’s Analytics wrote in a note to clients.

As a result, claims may have fallen from an inflated level and may not translate into much improvement in the unemployment rate in September. The government will issue the September jobs report Oct. 8. The jobless rate rose to 9.6 percent in August from 9.5 percent the previous month.

Requests for jobless aid are still above levels that are found in a healthy economy. When hiring is robust and the economy is growing, claims fall below 400,000.

The initial claims figures, while volatile, are considered a real-time snapshot of the job market. Workers laid off through no fault of their own are eligible to request benefits. The weekly claims figures are considered a measure of the pace of layoffs and an indication of companies’ willingness to hire.

Claims have fallen sharply since June 2009, the month the recession ended. First-time claims topped 600,000 at the end of that month.

Some companies are still cutting jobs. Cessna Aircraft said Tuesday that it will lay off 700 workers because the economy hasn’t recovered as strongly as the company had hoped earlier this year. The latest reductions are on top of 8,000 jobs the company has shed since late 2008, reducing its work force by half.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • MakoII Sep 23, 2010


    College Graduate unemployment is 4% that isn't so bad.

  • larieke Sep 23, 2010

    The Bush and Republican "No child left behind" program was very costly and added to the Bush deficit. It was supposed to be a long term strategy to steal the poor and other minorities as future voters from the Democrats. But I don't think it's working. The Democrats are too smart for that and need to keep them poor, so they countered by giving them extended benefits, free health insurance, and expanded medicaid. So, back to the drawing board for the Republicans. College students? Well, giving them extended health insurance on the backs of their parents, might keep the students in their protected world a little longer, but they can't be a student forever. Eventually they will have to come out in the real world. But oh what a shock. Companies can't afford to hire them.

  • MakoII Sep 23, 2010


    So the Democrats are bad because of Socials Security and Medicare.

    Vote for the Republicans because they'll cut SS and Medicare.

    Wait, they never did and WILL NOT cut them.

    Because doing so will get them labelled?!?

    That's a lame argument sehsa.

    If YOU truly believe those programs should be cut, either make YOUR party cut them, or find one that will.

    Supporting a gutless party afraid of labels to do what YOU consider the "right thing" only enables them to remain gutless. And your agenda will never get done. And you'll have helped KILL that agenda you say you want.

  • Finz Up Sep 23, 2010

    "So Bush and the GOP congress didn't do anything about that for the 6 years they had power?


    Oh the NEW GOP Pledge doesn't say ANYTHING about Social Security? Nothing about Medicare?

    You must be in the wrong party, mate! That's NOT the GOP's agenda."

    What exactly can you do about it seeing as how people are dependant on it....You can't do anything about it or you might get labeled a "racist" or "bigot" who hates poor people.

  • MakoII Sep 23, 2010


    So Bush and the GOP congress didn't do anything about that for the 6 years they had power?


    Oh the NEW GOP Pledge doesn't say ANYTHING about Social Security? Nothing about Medicare?

    You must be in the wrong party, mate! That's NOT the GOP's agenda.

  • Finz Up Sep 23, 2010


    If you want to talk National Debt with the Bush tax cuts who do I need to "Thank" for Social Security debt? Or Medicare debt? or Obamacare debt? Oh I forgot that's "paid for" ;-).....You conveniently skip over the OTHER DEBT

    Or better yet who do my kids and grandkids need to "Thank"?

  • MakoII Sep 23, 2010


    if you take Bush's tax cuts, then add to them the National Debt he added (5 Trillion) divided by the Households paying taxes (near 100 Million) then...

    Bush II RAISED your taxes by $50,000 per household.

    Oh, it's on the debt, triple that compound interest. $150,000 every household.

    Go ahead. Thank Bush for that tax cut (which was put on the debt as there were no spending cuts for them)

  • Finz Up Sep 23, 2010

    "That's the way Capitalism is today. It's all about greed, and corporate America knows they now are the ones in control, not us or the government."

    Tell ya what....Come by my office and I will make you a company partner. You will get a wonderful salary and in return you take half the responsibility and RISK. In otherwords if the company goes bottoms up you don't get the luxury of going and hiding in your cubicle. Then you can report back to me about "corporate greed"!

  • MakoII Sep 23, 2010


    While that IS the American definition LEGALLY, it's not the definition used by politicians.

    Politicians typically use the Eurpoean and/or Canadian definition of 50 or 100 employees.

    95% of the nations businesses have less than 50 employees.

    The Labor Department reports that Businesses with less than 50 employees make up 61.8% of ALL job losses in the 4th quarter last year.

  • Finz Up Sep 23, 2010

    "Isn't federal income taxes at the lowest level since the 1950s? Also, hasn't Obama decreased taxes? As far as entitlement...are you kidding me....good luck with that talking point!"

    You think taxation is JUST about income tax? Get a clue Bill....and yes I am dead serious about entitlement. It is a wasteland of mismanaged government screwups.