Jobless claims in U.S. show limited labor market progress

Continuing Claims

Continuing claims don’t include those Americans receiving extended unemployment aid under federal programs. Those collecting emergency and extended payments decreased by about 46,700 to 2.09 million in the week ended Oct. 6.

Unemployment among people eligible for benefits held at 2.5 percent for a second week, today’s report showed.

Thirty-two states and territories reported an increase in claims two weeks ago, while 20 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.

The slowing global economy has caused companies to miss growth targets and prompted Dow Chemical Co., Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Ebay Inc.’s PayPal and other companies to announce job cuts in recent weeks.

Dow, based in Midland, Michigan, and the largest U.S. seller of chemicals, this week announced that it would shed about 2,400 jobs and close 20 plants.

‘Slow-Growth’ Economy

“The reality is we are operating in a slow-growth environment in the near-term,” Chief Executive Officer Andrew Liveris said in a written statement this week. “While these actions are difficult, they demonstrate our resolve to tightly manage operations -- particularly in Europe -- and mitigate the impact of current market dynamics.”

The Labor Department’s October employment report will be released Nov. 2, four days before U.S. voters go to the polls to elect a president. President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have been sparring over how best to improve the economy and create jobs.

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

Bloomberg News

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