Jobless claims in U.S. fell more than forecast last week

Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits, which tends to track the jobless rate, fell to 2.4% in the week ended Feb. 2, from 2.5% in the prior week, today’s report showed.

Thirty-five states and territories reported an increase in claims, while 18 reported a decrease. 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.

Monster Worldwide Inc., an Internet-recruiting service, said fourth-quarter sales fell 10%, and the businesses it serves remain cautious about adding workers even as the economy improves.

Clients “are continuing to be very conservative in adding new staff and making new investments,” Sal Iannuzzi, chairman and chief executive officer of the New York-based company, said on a Feb. 7 earnings call. In the U.S., “we do signs of recovery, but they are very tentative.”

“We are hopeful that a reduction in the uncertainty around the debt ceiling and budget negotiations may produce a lower risk environment as the year progresses,” he said.

Employers added 157,000 workers to payrolls in January after hiring a revised 196,000 the month before, and the unemployment rate climbed to 7.9%, Labor Department figures showed Feb. 1.

Bloomberg News

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