Thursday, April 26, 2012

US unemployment aid requests near 3-month high

Notice how it's no longer an "unexpected" news. What probably comes as a surprise to Obama is that it's not about being the cool president on comedy shows, it's about the economy. That is the "unexpected" part.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits remained stuck near a three-month high last week, a sign that hiring has likely slowed since winter.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications dipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000. It was little changed from the previous week's figure, the highest since Jan. 7.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose to 381,750, also the highest in three months.

Applications jumped sharply three weeks ago, a sign that employers had stepped up layoffs and added fewer jobs. Economists said the increase might have been inflated by temporary layoffs during the spring holidays, when many school employees are laid off.

But applications haven't dropped back since then. Analysts predict that job gains of about 175,000 will be reported for April when the government issues the month's employment report next week. That's below the average of 250,000 jobs added per month from December-February.

The report "adds to concern about backsliding in job creation after faster employment gains earlier in the year," said Jonathan Basile, an economist at Credit Suisse.

The increase in applications follows a report this month that hiring slowed in March, when employers added only 120,000 jobs.