Economy

First-time claims for jobless benefits on the rise

Applications have been hovering around 370,000 for the past month, just below the 375,000 level economists say reflects a healthy job market, with hiring picking up enough to lower the unemployment rate. 

{mosads}Still, analysts say they expect hiring to pick up this summer to about 200,000 jobs a month, although May could produce another month of slow growth. 

The economy added 115,000 jobs in April and estimates for Friday’s jobs report are at about 160,000, with no change in the unemployment rate at 8.1 percent. 

Initial claims trended upward in April, raising concerns that the labor market’s strong improvement throughout the winter was ebbing. 

On average, the economy added more than 250,000 jobs a month over the winter, the best streak of growth since June 2009, when the recession officially ended. 
Since August, the jobless rate has fallen to 8.1 percent from 9.1 percent, although much of that improvement has been created by frustrated job seekers who have stopped looking for work. 
During the unseasonably warm winter, employers added jobs that usually wait until spring, with some economists calling the slower hiring in March and April “payback” for the good weather. 
The number of people continuing to collect jobless benefits dropped by 36,000 to 3.24 million in the week that ended May 19. The continuing claims figure does not include the number of workers receiving extended benefits under federal programs.
The number of those who have exhausted their state-level benefits and are receiving federal checks fell by about 40,300 to 2.93 million for the week that ended May 5. 
The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs was 6.13 million, a decrease of 30,753 for the week that ended May 12.
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