Quoted – Continued jobless claims drop 255,000; experts not optimistic

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The number of people collecting continued unemployment benefits dropped by 255,000 in the week ending June 5, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday.

According to the report, 4.5 million people filed continued insurance claims for unemployment, the lowest level since December 2008.

Continued claims reflect people who file each week after their initial claim until the end of standard benefits, which usually last 26 weeks but have been repeatedly extended during the recession. The figures do not include people who have exhausted their benefits or stopped looking for work.

Initial jobless claims for benefits fell by 3,000 to 456,000 from last week’s revised figure of 459,000 claims. The number includes only initial or first-time claims made by laidoff workers.

Initial claims hit 597,000 one year ago and continued insured unemployment totaled 6.5 million.

“The economic growth numbers aren’t negative, but the recovery keeps slowing down,” said Scott Testa, assistant professor of business at Cabrini College in Philadelphia, Penn., in an interview. “It does help to some point that the government is providing so many Census jobs, but what we need to get out of this is good, full-time permanent jobs.”

Employers added 431,000 jobs in May, but 411,000 of those were temporary U.S. Census positions.

“Realistically, I don’t see a major uptick in private-sector hiring until around January 2011,” Testa said.

On a state-by-state basis, Illinois was among the highest in initial claims with 909 new claims. Florida, California, Arizona and Georgia saw the biggest increase with more than 1,000 new claims.

Layoffs in Florida among several industries drove up new claims by 3,460.

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=166695

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Quoted – National initial jobless claims fall for second straight week; Illinois’ claims rise

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The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment benefits last week fell 10,000 from the week prior, its second straight week of decline, as the economy continues its flirtation with expansion.  Initial jobless claims for Illinois increased, however, as the state’s employment picture remained dreary.

The advanced seasonally adjusted amount of initial jobless claims was 453,000 for the week ended May 29, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday, down 10,000 from the previous week’s revised figure. That was slightly lower than economists surveyed by Bloomberg LP were expecting.

“This is going to be a long-term trend,” stressed Scott Testa, professor of business administration at Cabrini College in Philadelphia.  Testa was hesitant to draw positive conclusions from this week’s report, suggesting employers are unlikely to boost their hiring until 2011.  “Very little hiring gets done during the summer,” he said, though he expects a hiring “uptick” in January and February.

The residential real estate market is still hurting, Testa said, and housing “touches a lot of points in the economy,” since it is indicative of consumer confidence and spending.

Yet, the retail industry is showing some positive signs, Testa said.  “The real litmus test is going to be the holiday season shopping,” he said.

Quarterly data on jobless claims is a stronger indication of the employment outlook, Testa asserted, because weekly numbers are constantly being revised.

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=166271

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