US jobless aid applications fall to 5-year low - WSPA.com

US jobless aid applications fall to 5-year low

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON DC (WFLA) -

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.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Are background checks enough for Florida teachers?

    Are background checks enough for Florida teachers?

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:41 PM EDT2014-04-18 23:41:35 GMT

    In an effort to weed out potential perverts, Florida law requires fingerprinting and criminal background checks before school districts hire employees that will have any contact with children.

    In an effort to weed out potential perverts, Florida law requires fingerprinting and criminal background checks before school districts hire employees that will have any contact with children.


  • Pasco mix-up sends registration notices to wrong drivers

    Pasco mix-up sends registration notices to wrong drivers

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:02 PM EDT2014-04-18 22:02:51 GMT
    The vehicle registration information of hundreds of drivers in Pasco County were sent to the wrong person in a mix-up that led to the firing of a contractor.
    The vehicle registration information of hundreds of drivers in Pasco County were sent to the wrong person in a mix-up that led to the firing of a contractor.
  • Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Friday, April 18 2014 3:52 PM EDT2014-04-18 19:52:20 GMT
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
  • Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>

  • Asheville Police: Shooting Suspect In Custody

    Asheville Police: Shooting Suspect In Custody

    Monday, April 21 2014 7:07 AM EDT2014-04-21 11:07:01 GMT
    sheville Police say 33 year old Dwayne Purcell is in custody. He's a suspect in a shooting Sunday.sheville Police say 33 year old Dwayne Purcell is in custody. He's a suspect in a shooting Sunday.
    Asheville Police say they have a suspect in custody for a shooting at Walton Street Park Sunday afternoon.
    Asheville Police say they have a suspect in custody for a shooting at Walton Street Park Sunday afternoon.
  • Anderson Woman Entrapped In Overturned Car Drives Off Okay

    Anderson Woman Entrapped In Overturned Car Drives Off Okay

    Monday, April 21 2014 1:37 AM EDT2014-04-21 05:37:12 GMT
    Emergency responders help woman get out of overturned vehicle by placing a ladder on the side of her car. Emergency responders help woman get out of overturned vehicle by placing a ladder on the side of her car.
    An Anderson woman who was entrapped in her overturned vehicle was able to drive off uninjured. Pelzer Emergency Medical Services, Wren Firefighters and South Carolina Highway Patrol all responded to a call for an overturned vehicle on US 29 near Shiloh Church Road late Sunday night.
    An Anderson woman who was entrapped in her overturned vehicle was able to drive off uninjured. Pelzer Emergency Medical Services, Wren Firefighters and South Carolina Highway Patrol all responded to a call for an overturned vehicle on US 29 near Shiloh Church Road late Sunday night.
  • Teen Stowaway Survives In Wheel Well of Maui Flight

    Teen Stowaway Survives In Wheel Well of Maui Flight

    Monday, April 21 2014 12:30 AM EDT2014-04-21 04:30:34 GMT
    Teen stowaway survives in wheel well of Hawaiian Airlines plane flight from California to Hawaii.Teen stowaway survives in wheel well of Hawaiian Airlines plane flight from California to Hawaii.
    FBI officials say a 16 year old boy stowed away in the wheel well of a flight from California to Hawaii and survived.
    FBI officials say a 16 year old boy stowed away in the wheel well of a flight from California to Hawaii and survived.
Powered by WorldNow

250 International Dr.
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303

Telephone: 864.576.7777
Fax: 864.587.5430
Email: webmaster@wspa.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.