Jobless claims in U.S. unexpectedly fall to a six-week low

Extended Benefits

Those people collecting emergency and extended payments decreased by about 225,400 to 1.78 million in the week ended Feb. 16.

The unemployment rate among Americans eligible for benefits held at 2.4% in the week ended Feb. 23, today’s report showed.

Thirty-seven states and territories reported a decrease in claims, while 16 reported an increase. 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.

Government Spending

Defense contractors will be hit hardest by the across-the- board cutbacks in the growth of government spending. Rockwell Collins Inc., Boeing Co. and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. are among companies that have said they could announce headcount reductions.

Because the reductions extend over the next decade, “it’s still more of a question mark than it is a conclusion,” Ed Coleman, chairman and chief executive officer at Unisys Corp., a technology services company based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, said at a March 4 conference. “It has, more broadly, the impact of slowing down decision-making processes in the federal government, which have not been particularly fast-paced for a while.”

“It does just add more uncertainty into that marketplace,” he said.

Bloomberg News

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