U.S. jobless claims jump unexpectedly to 667,000

February 26, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Economic News 

 

The job losses are mounting.  On the bright side, with a robust retraining program in place, this could help us down the road once we reallocate those jobs into more sustainable parts of the economy.  What I don’t like to see is the loss of jobs in the productive parts of our economic base.  We need to produce goods in the U.S. for sale at home and abroad.  As national policy we should aim to have a balanced trade internationally and to avoid a few number of countries to gain excessive reserves of our currency that could pose a problem down the road if they had their own emergency that requires them to use those reserves.

News:

New jobless claims rose more than expected last week and the number of Americans continuing to receive unemployment benefits has topped 5.1 million, fresh evidence the recession is increasingly forcing employers to shed jobs.

The Labor Department said Thursday that first-time requests for unemployment benefits jumped to 667,000 from the previous week’s figure of 631,000. Analysts had expected a slight drop in claims.

The 667,000 new claims are the most since October 1982, though the labor force has grown by about half since then. The four-week average of initial claims, which smooths out fluctuations, rose to 639,000, the highest in more than 26 years.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. added to the bad news Thursday, saying that it would eliminate about 12,000 jobs as it folds in the operations of failed savings and loan Washington Mutual Inc.

Separately, U.S. manufacturers saw orders for big-ticket goods plunge by a larger-than-expected 5.2 percent in January as global economic troubles cut demand from customers at home and abroad.

The latest report on U.S. factory activity, released by the Commerce Department, showed orders falling for a record sixth straight month. The previous record of four months came in 1992.

And new home sales tumbled 10.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 309,000 last month, the worst showing on government records going back to 1963.

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