EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

October 11, 2013

US jobless claims jumpto 374,000due to backlog

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped by 66,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 374,000. But the spike was largely because California processed a huge backlog of claims and the partial government shutdown prompted some companies to cut jobs.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average rose 20,000 to 325,000. The sharp increase in both the weekly figures and the four-week average comes after applications hovered near a 6-year low the previous week.

A government spokesman said that about half the weekly increase occurred in California, where officials processed applications that were delayed several weeks by a computer upgrade.

One-quarter of the increase reflected applications from employees at government contractors and other workers affected by the shutdown.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. Before last week, they had declined steadily over the past three months. That’s a sign companies are cutting fewer workers.

“The broader picture is still that labor market conditions are improving, albeit not quite as much as we previously thought,” Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

Federal workers temporarily laid off by the shutdown may also file for benefits. But their numbers are reported separately and published a week later than the other applications.

Lockheed Martin said Monday that it is furloughing about 2,400 employees. That’s lower than the 3,000 employees the company initially said it would furlough because Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has recalled most of the Pentagon’s civilian employees to work.

Falling applications are typically followed by more hiring. But there aren’t any signs that that has happened yet. Instead, job gains have slowed in recent months.

It’s not clear if hiring trends changed last month. The government was unable to issue the September employment report because of the shutdown.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Latest World News
Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Today in History for April 18th Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Today in History for April 17th Egypt Clamps Down on Mosques to Control Message After Fukushima, Japan Eyes Solar Power
Photos of the Week