Layoffs continue by economists wonder how many are left to let go. Hiring continues to be slow yet jobless claims are the lowest they have been in forty years.
The U.S. Labor Department announced on Thursday that unemployment claims for the week ending October 17 rose from the previous week by 3,000 applications. A total of 259,000 claims for unemployment benefits were made for the week. Analysts and economists were expecting claims in the 265,000 range.
When compared with the four week average, according to Bloomberg, it was the lowest number in forty years. Even though consumer confidence and spending has been optimistic, employers keep shedding jobs and staying lean on the employee front. Hiring has not been strong these past several months as businesses are still concerned with the overall American economy and especially the slowdown happening in the rest of the world particularly in Asia.
Many leading economists feel that there isn’t that many people left in the workforce that can be laid off. The number of ongoing unemployment claims went up 6,000 for the previous week of October 10. There are now 2.17 million Americans collecting unemployment benefits. This is, still, the lowest it has been since November of 2000.
For people who are entitled to unemployment benefits, the unemployment rate for them was reported to be 1.6 percent. The Labor Department said there was nothing amiss in last week’s data and that no state sent in estimates. While lower jobless claims tend to support stronger hiring trends, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Less hiring indicated re-structuring and trying to make do with the personnel on hand until growth decisions are made.
The unemployment rate stayed at a low 5.1 percent. This indicates full employment to many analysts who measure a 5 percent unemployment to mean that everyone who wants a job probably has a job. There has been no growth seen at all with regard to new hiring’s over the past several months. The Federal Reserve will meet on October 27 and 28 to consider raising its benchmark interest rate. Their benchmark rate had been almost zero since early in 2008.