US Weekly Jobless Claims Show Modest Decrease

The tightening labor market has seen employers forgo layoffs out of fear they may not be able to replace the workers they let

US jobless claims dip in mid March AFP by AFP16 Mar 20170 16 Mar 2017 16 Mar 2017

That is the longest stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller. Throughout the state, 64,018 new job openings were posted.

Two weeks ago claims had fallen to a 44-year low of 223,000.

Unemployment claims are a proxy for layoffs.

U.S. initial jobless claims declined slightly to 241,000 in the week ending March 11th from 243,000 the previous week and the latest figure was very close to consensus forecasts of 240,000.

The four-week moving average came in at 237,250, a drop of 750 from the prior week's unrevised average of 236,500.

The result marks seven consecutive weeks with claims below 250,000.

Metro Dalton's unemployment rate in January was 7.1 percent, up from 6 percent in December, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

Georgia Department of Labor officials released the data Thursday, noting the region's jobless rate increased due to a rise in the number of new layoffs and growth in the labor force.

"The improvement in employment conditions so far this year has occurred as economic growth appears to have picked up from the modest pace seen in the fourth quarter of last year", Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said in a press conference Wednesday. In January 2016, the unemployment rate was 5.6 percent. Previously, the December rate was reported at 5.4 percent.

Worth added that the number of job openings has exceeded the number of hires in nine of the past ten months.

The number of employed workers also decreased in January from 22,109 to 4,627,724, with unemployment increased to 30,930 to 269,270.

The nation's insured unemployment rate continues to decline, based on weekly claims for continued unemployment insurance benefits. However, over the year, claims were down by 656, or 6.4 percent, from 10,280 in January 2016. The state insured unemployment rate is 2.6 percent, 1.1 percentage points above the national rate.

The rate rose as the labor force grew and the number of new layoffs increased. Most of the increase came in construction and arts, entertainment and recreation.

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