Jobless claims in U.S. exceed forecast on seasonal shift

Presidential Vote

Economic issues including jobs are central to the race. Gallup’s daily tracking of registered voters conducted Oct. 10 through Oct. 16 showed President Barack Obama with 46 percent and Republican challenger Mitt Romney with 48 percent support. The margin of error is two percentage points.

Payrolls rose 114,000 in September after a 142,000 increase the prior month, according to Labor Department figures released earlier this month. The unemployment rate dropped to a three- year low of 7.8 percent from 8.1 percent.

Today’s report showed the number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits fell by 29,000 in the week ended Oct. 6 to 3.25 million.

The continuing claims figure does not include the number of Americans receiving extended benefits under federal programs.

Extended Benefits

Those who’ve used up their traditional benefits and are now collecting emergency and extended payments decreased by about 7,200 to 2.13 million in the week ended Sept. 29.

The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits dropped to 2.5 percent from 2.6 percent in the prior week, today’s report showed.

Forty-nine states and territories reported an increase in claims two weeks ago, while 4, including California, reported a drop. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

Initial jobless claims reflect weekly firings and tend to fall as job growth -- measured by the monthly non-farm payrolls report -- accelerates.

Amazon.com Inc., the world’s biggest online retailer, is among employers taking on workers for the holiday season. The Seattle-based company said on Oct. 16 that it will add more than 50,000 seasonal positions, and didn’t specify how that compares with 2011. Macy’s Inc., the second-biggest U.S. department-store chain, plans to hire about 2,000 more workers than the 78,000 it hired last year.

Some companies cite the lack of faster progress in the job market as a reason for weak demand. Dollar Tree Inc., the U.S. operator of more than 4,500 discount stores, said third-quarter sales will be at the low end of its forecast.

“We’d like to see better employment,” Bob Sasser, chief executive officer, said on an Oct. 11 teleconference with analysts. “I’d prefer to have people with money in their pocket to spend.”

Bloomberg News

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